2023 was a remarkable year where we continued to live our purpose of driving a Digital Malta, where no one is left behind. We made significant inroads in our True Fibre network rollout, invested heavily in 5G technology, and brought new and exciting TV content to our customers, while launching a host of new products and services, says Nikhil Patil, CEO of GO.
Digital technology is in a state of constant evolution. How has the customer experience developed throughout the past year?
We operate under the principle that no customer goes to bed without the internet and at GO, our operation is making this principle a reality. Our investment in True Fibre means that today, the majority of the Maltese islands are now enjoying broadband speeds unimaginable just a few years back. We have also invested heavily in 5G technology, transforming their mobile experience.
From a service perspective, we service over 5,000 customers every day through our retail outlets and the various channels managed by our contact centre agents including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Chatbot, besides the traditional fixed line and email which allows us to serve more customers faster than ever.
We also launched an integrated modem with WiFi 6, streamlining home setups by eliminating the need for extra equipment whilst our SmartHub ensures an ‘always on’ connection, seamlessly switching to mobile data in case of cable issues. We have worked hard to make connectivity and technology accessible to everyone through tailored plans, solutions and special offers for children, students, families, senior citizens and businesses, true to our purpose of driving a digital Malta where no one is left behind.
Earlier last year you anticipated that by the end of this year, 75 per cent of Malta and Gozo will be covered with True Fibre. Is this objective still achievable?
Absolutely. It has been a record year for our True Fibre rollout where this year alone, we have reached more than 70,000 homes. This means close to 80 per cent of the island which puts us on track to achieving nationwide coverage by the end of next year, making Malta one of the first EU countries to achieve this. In terms of businesses, over 80 per cent are today True Fibre connected. True Fibre is the fastest and best broadband technology and this means that Malta is now well prepared for any future technology or speed demands.
Earlier this month, independent market research acknowledged GO as Malta’s top employer. Your staff gave the company a satisfaction rate of over 80 per cent.
This is a record employee satisfaction score for GO and a great source of pride for us. Besides being a technology company, we are a people company first with our people at the very heart of our organisation. Taking care of their well-being and satisfaction at work is our top priority. Our purpose and values guide our decision-making and we have a fantastic team which constantly looks for innovative ways of taking our people strategy to new heights and to create the organisational culture that supports our strategy. I think the results speak for themselves.
GO recently announced that its streaming platform, Tokis, is the third most viewed channel on your platforms. Were you expecting this achievement?
We always knew that our customers loved original Maltese TV content. We also knew that the local TV industry was somewhat struggling due to lack of funds, investment and new opportunities. We had the resources to invest, and we did, securing a strong content library of previous Maltese productions with new, exclusive and hugely entertaining TV content that resonates with our customers.
Following GO’s outstanding financial performance in 2022, what are the indications for the company’s performance in 2023?
2023 was another very successful year for GO. We sustained a positive momentum, expanding on the favourable performance in the first half of the year. The Group’s consolidated revenue for the first nine months up to September 30, 2023 reached €178 million, marking an impressive 11 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2022. This growth is mirrored in the Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA), which also saw an 11 per cent rise, reaching €69 million.
Many large firms have embraced ESG but at GO, this has been on your agenda for many years. What have been GO’s main efforts in this regard in the past year?
ESG should be on every company’s agenda as a collective responsibility towards business, the community, our people and the environment. Last year we revamped our SIM packaging, reducing its size and weight to reduce plastic, we introduced eSIMs which eliminated packaging altogether as well as a new integrated smart WiFi 6 modem, which will contribute to a reduction in carbon footprint as less equipment will be required, therefore less plastic use and electricity consumption. We also downsized the number of bins at our offices and introduced waste separation on all floors.
There is significant progress on our new, €20 million headquarters in Zejtun. Newly installed BiPVs have connected this building to the grid, taking it one step closer to becoming one of the first fully sustainable buildings on the island. The plan is to relocate by the end of this year, a move that will help us achieve greater energy efficiency and reduce our environmental footprint. As founding members of the Malta ESG Alliance, we take pride in being leaders in sustainability and feel privileged to encourage and inspire other companies to transition to more sustainable operations.
What are your anticipations for the year ahead, and what should your customers and shareholders expect?
One of the most exciting deliverables for 2024 will be the completion of our True Fibre network rollout when we can then gradually start focusing on pulling back our copper network. Beyond that, we shall continue to focus on delivering better and stronger products for our customers, investing in more TV content, and diversifying our investment strategy to continue to strengthen the GO Group.