Together towards a more sustainable digital life
The year 2021 was once again marked by Covid. The fight against this unprecedented pandemic has had an impact on us all, both in our personal and professional lives. Proximus, clearly, is no exception and our employees and teams have shown tremendous resilience in their efforts to keep up the level of service our customers expect from us.
Although the Covid crisis certainly confronts us with challenges we had never imagined, it also offers us a unique opportunity to reinvent ourselves and rethink the world around us. Let’s take an example that Proximus knows well, the digital world. We are convinced that the traditional, global, deregulated digital platform models will gradually be challenged, or at least face competition from innovative and more local initiatives. Today, people aspire to lead a digital life that is based on models close to their concerns and in which they can have confidence. This tells us how important it is for future digital services, whether in education, health or e-commerce for example, to also be developed in Europe and Belgium by local players and ecosystems. Asking ourselves which platforms we want to support to shape the world of tomorrow is also about how we want to live as a society.
Getting everyone connected
We cannot talk about a digital society without talking about future-proof connectivity. This will be a combination of fiber, 5G and technologies such as cloud and edge computing. They are what we call the networks of the future: they are the operating system of our economy and digital life, with infinite potential. We want them to be open to us all and benefit us all. That is why we invest more than one billion euro each year in our networks to roll out fiber and 5G throughout Belgium, while guaranteeing our customers a very high level of security. Our ultimate ambition is to reach 99% 5G coverage by the end of 2024 and 100% gigabit coverage in Belgium.
Encouraging the emergence of local ecosystems
There is no getting away from digital, so being able to put our digital life and our data in the hands of actors we trust is a crucial concern. As we see it, our digital life needs to reflect our own life, our own needs. A life that is more local, more secure and more responsible, in which major Belgian brands, visionary entrepreneurs and strong local companies will build ecosystems to drive the next wave of innovation.
Of course, Proximus intends to be up there on the crest of this wave. More than ever, we set out to partner up with Belgians in their digital day-to-day lives. With the launch of Doktr and Banx this year, we are very much on the right path. We also steer our business customers through their digital transformation by innovating with them, making the most of our new 5G innovation platform.
A player with a human face
The human face of Proximus is first and foremost the thousands of colleagues who give their best throughout the year, whether in our stores, in our contact centers, in the field or in the office. And we know what a difference this human touch can make in the digital world. Not only does it contribute to a better customer experience on a daily basis. More importantly, however, our presence has also been essential in the unusual circumstances we have experienced this year.
We want our networks to be accessible to everyone, ensuring that no one is left by the wayside.
Our teams have continued to make outstanding efforts in the fight against Covid. In record time, they equipped vaccination centers with connectivity and IT solutions.
During the terrible floods in the summer of 2021, our technicians worked hard for long days and nights to restore our infrastructure in the stricken areas. This enabled those affected to reconnect with their loved ones and businesses to resume their activities.
Responding to social issues
At Proximus, we want the new high-performance networks we are deploying to be accessible to everyone, ensuring that no one is left by the wayside. To follow through on our promises, in September 2021, together with public authorities, companies and social organizations, we signed the Digital Inclusion Charter, demonstrating our joint commitment to reducing the digital divide in our country.
Responding to social issues also means systematically taking account of our impact on the climate. It is our responsibility as leaders to set a good example by integrating sustainability into all our actions. We are also very proud that Proximus has joined the European Green Digital Coalition, which is aimed at achieving zero net carbon emissions by 2040, 10 years ahead of the target set in the Paris Agreement.
Making Proximus the reference digital employer
As the war for talent will only intensify in the coming years, it is essential that a group like Proximus offers its employees a stimulating and inspiring work environment that values diversity, inclusion, collaboration and responsibility.
This is our way of promoting continuous development of our employees, especially as to technologies of the future, and offering attractive opportunities for digital talent
It is our responsibility to integrate sustainability into all our actions.
To accelerate our transformation into a truly customer-centric digital company, we have decided to embrace agile working methods. This approach allows us to focus more on what matters to customers and deliver innovative solutions faster.
In the coming years, we will also be adapting our workspaces - both in Brussels and in our regional offices - towards a 'campus' style, which is more conducive to human contact and collaboration.
Transforming Proximus for the future
As you will discover by reading this annual report, the year 2021 has been particularly rich in terms of realizations for Proximus. Driven by the #inspire2022 strategy, our teams have accomplished remarkable work, despite the complicated context linked to Covid.
Looking in the rearview mirror, it is impressive how far we have come in the past twelve months. We have dramatically accelerated the pace of fiber roll-out to become one of the world's most successful operators in this field. We have continued to transform and modernize our internal IT tools to make Proximus a truly digital, customer-centric company. We are gradually returning to growth in our Consumer and Enterprise segments, thanks to our convergent brands and offers, our strategic partnerships and our capacity for constant innovation. We have held up well in the business market while continuing to transform at a steady pace. The issue of our first green bond was a huge success.
In addition to our performance in the domestic market, we also ramped up Proximus’ international position. We acquired all the shares in our subsidiary BICS, giving us the flexibility to implement the growth plans of BICS and Telesign. What’s more, at the end of December, Telesign announced its intention to go public in 2022.
Tomorrow’s world will inevitably be more digital. Thanks to our #inspire2022 strategy, it will also be more human, more local, safer and more sustainable.
This is our commitment to you all! #thinkpossible