Hormuud Telecom’s commitment to continuous improvement is every bit as socially-driven as it is income-driven as the Company stays true to its mission of connecting Somalia
Writer: Matthew Staff
Project Manager: Kane Weller
Established in 2002, Hormuud Telecom’s rise over little more than 15 years has been remarkable; evolving ahead of the global industry curve to provide Somalia with the most contemporary and socially enriching array of telecommunications services possible.
Comprising as many as 7,000 shareholders, another 8,000 business partners, and 7,000 staff members, it is the scale that Hormuud has managed to grow to that first grabs your attention when speaking with the Company’s Head of International Relations and Compliance, Abdala Mohamud. But as he emphasises, it is the way this scale is directed and harnessed that has made the Company the success it is today.
“We work across South and Central Somalia and through a balance of organic and acquisitional growth, as well as key partnerships established with the likes of Golis in the south and Telesom in the north, we have been able to achieve full penetration across the country,” he states. “Customers have access to all three of our offerings as a result, giving them unrivalled opportunities and the full, turnkey range of modern telecommunications solutions across Somalia.
“Internally, this size and partnership network not only helps escalate our own technological knowhow, but also our market share, making us the biggest in the region and the most innovative player in the industry.”
Such aforementioned, state-of-the-art services embrace everything you would expect of a BT in the UK or a Safaricom closer to home; with a concerted focus on value-add propositions that go beyond traditional voice and data services and take people into realms of banking, mobile money, internet optimisation and international roaming.
“You can see our influence on the country chronologically when looking at the respective impacts of our service introductions over the years,” Mohamud says. “This started with the landlines when the telecoms industry was challenging in the country, before moving into mobile in the early 2000s. We then expanded our mobile network and subscriber base over the years while opening up our shareholder system, which saw people from all over the world realise our potential and become shareholders and partners.”
Fast forward to the present day and Hormuud now has a portfolio consisting of everything that any big global provider would be able to boast; edging the Company nearer to its initial vision of “fulfilling every need pertaining to the communication of Somali people”.
Unique and advanced
What Hormuud has been able to do most effectively in bringing Somalia into line with the world’s most advanced telecommunication solutions is leapfrog a host of traditional, outdated offerings in favour of introducing the most modern and prevalent services possible.
Not only does this facilitate heightened efficiency and cost-cuttings but it generates an obvious market advantage too. Ultimately, it also paves the way for numerous IT-driven value-added products to also emanate from the wider remit, as is evidenced by its mobile money service, EVC+ which now enjoys 90 percent market penetration.
And behind each and every ground-breaking unveiling is an internal infrastructure that is quickly and surely boosting relevant tech skills up to necessary standards.
Mohamud explains: “Most of our staff have been growing with the Company over the years. As our capacity increases, our workforce increases, and as the workforce increases the amount of training we provide does too.
“Added to this is the fact that most of our vendors and international suppliers offer aftersales services and training as well, so between our staff and partners, the customers are getting the most knowledgeable advice and education possible.”
Numerous employees are sent to Nairobi to expose individuals to new technological innovations and experiences to further this ethos, and this is complemented internally via Hormuud’s ever-improving HR initiatives.
“Consistently, over the past 10 years, we’ve won ‘the best company to work for’ award in Somalia,” Mohamud enthuses. “Despite us getting bigger, we’ve become even more personable from an employment and enrichment perspective.
“Then there is our unique and advanced remuneration approach based on three pillars: of course, there’s each person’s basic salary; but then there is also a yearly bonus; and most importantly a monthly incentive directly attached to the monthly income of the overall Company.”
Employee loyalty is an inevitable outcome from such an approach, and this same long-term fostering of relationships can be seen across the business’s supply chain too. In this respect, business partners are driven in the most part by Hormuud’s product offering; many of them using the telecom services themselves.
Responsible and progressive
The final strand of the Company’s personable approach to doing business can be seen in areas not directly related to business results at all. Since inception, Hormuud has marketed itself as a socially enriching entity, but far more than just talking about its responsibilities, the Company proves such a philosophy through its actions.
www.htf.so hosts Hormuud Telecom Foundation, a subsidiary solely focused on social upliftment across areas of healthcare and education especially (perfectly epitomised through its role in the only school for the blind in Somalia and the HTF Fire Brigade team).
Closer to home, a sustainable, long-term influence on the country’s economic prospects, as well as Hormuud’s own business credentials, can be seen via the Hormuud Telecom University; a breeding ground for budding professionals to develop their skills, and for the Company itself to send its own employees for further training.
“Taking all of this into account, and especially our role in improving core social facilitators across Somalia like education or health or banking, it brings to mind one key differentiator,” Mohamud says. “This is our level of gradience and our penetration into Somali people’s lives.
“Alongside our 7,000 shareholders and rising, we have 7,000 staff members at your service, and a further 7,000-8,000 business partners; altogether culminating in around 20,000 people around our network driving to make people’s lives better. This is what sets us apart – it’s not just the scale, but the way this scale is being directed in the most responsible and progressive way.”
Progression is very much the key word for Hormuud moving forward, both domestically and internationally. Regarding the former, the Company is on hand to help ingratiate the new wave of technological evolution into the country on a more formal, Government-driven basis; while in the meantime the business will look towards replicating its Somalian success across the wider East African region.