Dolly Susanto: Never Get Caught in a Price War

Photo Credits: Hutchison 3 Indonesia

Though it looks flourishing from a distance, the fact is that the telecommunications business is not running smoothly during the pandemic situation. All sorts of twists and turns still challenging the players, given the ever-increasing customer expectations. Today’s customers demand excellent communication services, but at meager prices. The cost required to maintain communication services by providers is not cheap.

The situation is increasingly challenging for telecommunication players known to provide services at ‘pocket’ friendly prices; for instance, we have 3 Indonesia. Having a customer base that comprises 90% of the young generation makes 3 Indonesia have to work extra hard to provide the best service at an attractive price for their pockets.

Under the leadership of CMO Hutchison 3 Indonesia Dolly Susanto, 3 Indonesia chose not to get into a price war. Yes, 3 Indonesia decides to compete in product and service innovation that may provide the best benefits and value for customers.

3 Indonesia pampers their customers with unique and attractive products, such as Always On, which provides an Active Quota Forever, or Happy feature, which offers unlimited YouTube with a large quota for 24 hours at the best price. Not only that, but 3 Indonesia also provides bima+, a digital hub application with the latest features, personalization of various quota packages according to needs, and profiles for gamers.

It is even more interesting to explore, especially since this company recommends a merger with one of Indonesia’s well-known telecommunications business players, Indosat Ooredoo. So, what will 3 Indonesia under Dolly Susanto’s leadership be in the future? Check out the following conversation between Annisa Bella Syana.S. from Marketeers with Dolly Susanto.

Nowadays, there is a shift in customer behavior trends in the telecommunications industry. Customers tend to want low prices for communication services but excellent service quality. Meanwhile, telecommunication business actors require a large number of funds to run their service maintenance. How do you respond to this situation?

We understand that the COVID-19 has become a challenge for all levels of society. COVID-19 has accelerated the process of digitizing various aspects of our everyday life. This has an impact on people’s behavior shift that relies more on digital technology. This is not an easy period for all of us, including 3 Indonesia.

Maintenance of the infrastructure is an obligation that must always be done to provide the best service. During the pandemic, we maintained our commitment to building telecommunication networks throughout Indonesia. It is recorded that in 2020, we have more than 44,000 BTS with a 4.5G Pro network throughout Indonesia which has reached more than 37,000 villages.

Last year, we also built an integrated gamer ecosystem through the H3RO starter pack and the H3RO Project. We will continue to strive and be proactive in improving the quality of our product service with agility by making adjustments to any changes that occur in society.

3 Indonesia is well-known as a provider with low prices and large quotas. How do you keep the competition not to get into a price war?  

The industrial competition will always happen everywhere, not only in the telecommunications industry, but 3 Indonesia continues to answer market needs by providing benefits to all parties.

We choose to compete in product and service innovation that may provide benefits and the best value for customers. We pamper our customers with Always On Products that offer an Active Quota Forever or Happy feature, which offers unlimited YouTube with a large quota for 24 hours at the best price.

Our newest package is the Happy Quota package, where we can guarantee that users will feel happy. We created this Happy Quota Package because we listened to consumer complaints during the pandemic. They often need a large data quota that can be used for 24 hours without hours restrictions but at an affordable price. Then, we designed this starter pack for prepaid SIM cards and the Happy Quota. This Happy Quota Package is embedded with various options to make their choice according to their needs.

Today’s customers no longer consume what is offered to them, but instead, want some personalization. Customers also want to enjoy whatever service they want, anytime, anywhere.  Do you agree with this? So, how do you answer this challenge?

People certainly want services that suit their needs that can be used anytime and anywhere. That’s why we continue to listen to our customers’ needs and innovate to meet those needs.

We provide bima+, a digital hub application with the latest features. It personalizes various quota packages according to needs and profiles for gamers, where they can continue to play games without lag and at an affordable price.  There are also all game vouchers and gaming data packages bundled with quotas and other digital entertainment such as movies, music, and Bima Market.

Almost 90% of 3 customers are Indonesian youngsters, and we heard the needs of our customers who like mobile games or esports, which are currently booming. The number of game players in Indonesia continues to increase, especially since e-sports have become one of Indonesia’s official sports.

To answer customer needs, we have specially made personalized H3RO products for gamers’ needs, such as large data quota and Service Awareness technology that will automatically prioritize the network when 3 user plays their favorite online game. This technology can reduce latency in games by almost 30%, even during peak hours.

Who is the target market of 3? Where is the most robust reach of 3 Indonesia, and who is the biggest market?

The majority of our customers are young people throughout Indonesia, both in urban and regional areas. Judging from the very high digital activity, they are familiar with the internet (internet-savvy), are active in social media, and consume digital content such as streaming and gaming. As the 4.5G Pro network is increasingly broad and strong, reaching more than 37,000 villages, our customer demographics are widespread throughout Indonesia.

What added value that you offer to your customers to maintain their loyalty?

As an addition to a solid and vast network, of course, we understand customer needs for digital content. To appreciate customer loyalty and pamper our customers, every one of our customers will get BonsTri Points.

3 Indonesia presents the BonsTri Point Program itself as a token of gratitude to loyal customers. 3 Indonesian customers can immediately obtain BonsTri points after they register their starter pack and for every time they top up their credit. BonsTri points can also be collected and exchanged through the bima+ application with various vouchers and discounts from affiliate merchants, including coupons for games, F&B, e-commerce, digital education, travel & accommodation, fashion, to 3 products. Currently, there are nearly 10 million of 3 subscribers who are active in BonsTri Points every month.

This year, what forms of innovation will you do to increase customer experience through technology-based services?

For every year, we are constantly making innovations and provide the best services and products for customers. Not only in terms of products, in 2020 we have innovated by presenting 3DigiBox, a digital vending machine to make it easier for customers to find 3 products, 3 services, and various daily digital needs. 3DigiBox has spread across 41 strategic locations such as malls, airports, universities, and many more.

In addition to direct customer experience, we through the 3Business unit also innovated to present various IoT-based technologies, which can make things easier for corporate partners. Therefore, of course, for this year 3 Indonesia will present various technological innovations according to customer needs.

How is the development of the 3 and Indosat Ooredoo merger issue? 

Our holding group in 3 Indonesia and Indosat Ooredoo are still in the discussion and negotiation stage. We are just looking forward to the good news. Hopefully, whatever decisions will come out will be the best decisions for all parties.

What are the objectives that can be obtained from each party and the customer if this issue gets realized?

Whatever the result, customers are always our top priority. We shall keep our commitment to provide a comprehensive and robust network in telecommunications throughout Indonesia and products accustomed to the needs of the Indonesian people.

What kind of branding strategy will be taken, and what will the portion of each party be in running the business if this merger happens?

It is too early for us to convey this, considering that both 3 Indonesia and Indosat Ooredoo are still discussing and negotiating with each other. The process will last for four months from January 2021, until the time of exclusive negotiations, which will take place on April 30, 2021. So, it is better if we wait after the end of April, based on the decisions that occur on that date later. From there, we can discuss the following topics and strategies.

But we are sure everyone will want to give their best, as well as 3 Indonesia will stick to our commitment to provide a comprehensive and robust network in telecommunications throughout Indonesia and products that are accustomed to the needs of the Indonesian people.

Talking about leadership. What do you think leadership means, and what is your leadership style like?

One of our corporate cultures in 3 Indonesia is the lean organization, with fewer layers. The relationship between the leader and other teams can be closed without any separating walls. In 3, anyone can be a leader. The ideas that have emerged that have made 3 for this 14 year continues to grow are from the leaders and all employees in which we work together.

Moreover, in my opinion, leadership is not only a function of management, co-worker relations, or one-way communication, but it is a two-way communication as a friend and a good listener. Listening is a crucial enabler for leaders before making decisions and carrying out leadership functions. I have always held this principle until I stand today.

That is Interesting. When you are talking about the business outlook for the telecommunications industry, how do you see it going forward? What are the innovations that 3 Indonesia will launch?

In 2021, I believe that the telecommunications sector will continue to grow compared to previous years. This is due to the increasing need for people to access telecommunications networks, especially the internet, to support their daily activities.

We see that these things are a new habit that will continue for years to come, or even later, the need for internet access will become the main thing. Many people use the internet not only to study remotely, work remotely, do online shopping, do business (MSMEs) online, but also to run their IoT devices at home, office, hospital, or other government facilities. Where, as we all know, Indonesia will implement a digital economy.

To stay ahead in the future, we will always be adaptive in adopting new technologies, especially in the network sector. 5G, for example, we are always in close discussion with our network stakeholders and our network business partners in Indonesia. We want our customers to quickly experience the latest network technology and utilize it to fulfill their digital life needs.


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