Wateen is likely to close its WiMAX division, amid tough business environment and sluggish growth that has impacted company’s margins and made it hard for the company to keep the WiMAX operations running.
Though we were not comminuted a fixed date or time frame for the closure of WiMAX operations, but we have confirmed with sources close and inside the company that Wateen is set on its track to to give WiMAX business a last try to make it profitable before eventually shutting it down in near future.
Having said this, Wateen has its obligation towards Government of Pakistan through USF projects, which will continue and may get withdrawn as per rules and procedures defined by Universal Service Fund.
Wateen’s WiMAX operations, back in 2007, was world’s largest WiMAX deployment and was initially seen with a lot of prospect and had brought with it several WiMAX operators namely wi-tribe, Qubee and Mobilink Infinity, promising tremendous career opportunities for Pakistani telecommunication professionals.
However, tough competition from PTCL EVO (which is allegedly using extra spectrum without paying dues) and low ARPUs, WiMAX operators are now finding it hard to keep up with their businesses.
Wateen didn’t communicate us the number of employees who are going to get impacted by today’s layoffs – but said that the process may take a week or so. Our sources mention that about 40 percent of Wateen’s permanent and contractual employees, including AMs and executives, mainly from consumer division will be laid off.
Reportedly, Wateen will outsource its whole call center to TRG, which it claims to have arranged better packages for employees, while Wateen’s eight business centers across the country are going to get closed immediately.
Activity at Wateen’s offices remained high today where firing of employees is underway. Morale of workforce has been low, naturally; who are uncertain of their future.
In an email to all employees today, Mr. Naeem Zamindar, CEO Wateen, said:
“Every business comes with its share of challenges. Whilst we are sad that many of our esteemed colleagues will no longer be with us, the current restructuring will enable us to align our cost structures, to ensure business sustainability and success.I am confident that by working together in a positive and energetic manner, we will succeed in achieving our vision of transforming the lives of every Pakistani. Wateen has come a long way since its rebirth and the company has seen much progress in the past year.While WiMAX continues to be a challenge for all operators across the industry, Wateen’s other business lines have shown considerable improvement. The company’s LDI business has grown from being number eight to the second largest player in the industry and the enterprise connectivity and solutions business is prospering.”