Ricky Steyn is a telecoms sector professional with 24 years of experience, specializing in service delivery of delivering of Telecoms network active and passive infrastructure projects. His working experience is diverse, and he has worked in multiple countries across three different continents of Africa, Middle East and Asia. Before Ricky joined edotco Myanmar he was employed by Digicel Myanmar Tower Company as Roll-Out Director where he helped design, acquire and built the 1,250 Built to Suit sites for Ooredoo Myanmar and successfully built 300 plus colocations for MPT and Telenor on these sites. Ricky holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Liverpool. The edotco country managing director talked to the Daily Sun recently.
The Daily Sun (DS) edotco is currently the leading Towerco in Bangladesh.What excites you most about being part of the Bangladesh telecommunications industry?
Ricky Steyn: To be a part of the Bangladesh telecoms Industry is indeed very exciting. It's becoming more exciting, especially as we share the Government’s clear vision to build a digital economy. Secondly, there is now in place a very robust framework for the Towerco industry to compete and thrive, and thirdly, I’m keen to work with and harness the infinite human capital potential of Bangladesh. The nation has developed a pool of talented engineers, and I’m excited to further expand their skills and capabilities. We are also pushing for growth within the sector by prioritising shared infrastructure to maximize 3G and 4G potential and bring about significant cost savings for the Mobile Network Operators.
DS: Bangladesh’s telecommunication industry has a lot of potential for growth, especially in terms of maximizing 4G and expanding connectivity coverage. How you see your experience contributing to these areas?
Ricky Steyn: Over the past six years, I have worked on 4G deployment. Our infrastructure is being designed uniquely and deployed in urban and densely populated urban areas and I believe my previous experiences will play a key role here. To advance NextGen technology that will enable 5G, edotco needs to play the driving role to meet customers' growing demand for cheap and light structure, and to continue develop a dense 4G layer, by continuing to roll out 4G concurrently with 5G. With Bangladesh’s geographical layout and suitable climate, I feel that the country has potential for such renewable energy solutions as well and I am excited to deploy these hybrid solutions to address gaps and benefit the local population here.
DS: edotco prides itself as being a nation building partner, enabling countries to be 5G ready. What are your thoughts on how Bangladesh can meet its 5G ambitions?
Ricky Steyn: As a nation-building partner, we make it one of our missions to help Bangladesh meet its digital ambitions. Only by working together we can pave a stronger foundation for the country’s digital agenda by working towards transforming the telecommunications landscape and ecosystem. As we move into the future, the emphasis is now on innovative structures, services, and adjacencies, even more so than 4G. In meeting the 5G ambitions for Bangladesh, we should have an inclusive approach together with the ecosystem starting from planning, to testing, up until implementation and maintenance of these sites. As the regulatory authorities are now working to set out the parameters of 5G roll-out, edotco Bangladesh aspires to contribute as an effective partaker as we have a successful test case in other countries such as in Malaysia, where we have collaborated at the policy level which allowed us to successfully implement a 5G private network at Langkawi Airport. We are indeed eager to address some of the critical challenges and opportunities to make sure it is a win-win for all. There are technologies such as Open RAN that could significantly reduce the total cost of ownership for all. Other opportunities to be considered are antenna as service and network analytics. These are some of the innovations we will see in the new way of working, becoming the standard scope of works for the Towercos. Regardless of the continuous innovation, we understand that the success of advancing the telco industry will depend on a collective effort from every industry player and stakeholder.DS: What are your top 3 priorities as the Country Managing Director, and how do you see them taking place?
Ricky Steyn: Working closely with all the major players in the telecommunications industry to ensure edotco plays a role in expediting the digital journey of the nation, by offering shareable infrastructure for the next generation telecoms solutions such as 5G, is my foremost priority. The increasing demand for data surges, especially in dense urban areas demands a different type of infrastructure. This need will generate more opportunities to explore, such as street furniture that also blends aesthetically with the modern city panorama. Recently we have launched our very first smart pole solution in collaboration with DNCC in Banani, Dhaka. These partnership projects are an excellent opportunity for us to exchange our knowledge and experience. Maintaining and building a top-performing team is another priority. The team has been consistently performing well for the last couple of years and has a proven track record; I would like to help to move this needle from being ‘good’ to ‘great’. Lastly, expediting our organizational digitization efforts is undoubtedly a priority. Digitization is essential for automation and artificial intelligence to function as an effective enabler for businesses that are undergoing a digital transformation.