Launched in 2019, Epic Malta has sought to build on 30 years of legacy in the telecommunications sector in Malta – weathering the economic instability of the past few years with aplomb. Looking ahead, incoming CEO Pierre-Etienne Cizeron is determined to continue prioritising innovative approaches.

Epic Malta entered the local market just four years ago but, already, it has made strides in solidifying its position as one of the core leaders in the telecoms industry on the island. “The company was launched in 2019, following a nationwide rebranding strategy, heralding a new era for the company, as well as for the country’s telecommunications,” its CEO Pierre-Etienne Cizeron explains.

He points to the firm’s international pedigree – Epic boasts “global DNA,” he says, with its acquisition by NJJ Holding and Monaco Telecom earlier in 2020. Through these connections, he says, “the team is building on a 30-year legacy that has seen it challenge and change the way Malta connects,” for “this means that we can, and do, bring global expertise to the local market.”

This international presence has allowed Epic Malta to grow substantially, away from Malta’s shores. “To put it into figures, Epic’s extended presence translates into servicing 50 million customers and one million businesses,” Pierre-Etienne attests. Last year, 2022, was a year of growth for the company, which also attracted further investment through a €20 million injection from the European Investment Bank.

In Malta, the telecoms operator “re-established our strong position as number one in the market, with over 250,000 customers now on an Epic Pay Monthly, and at least one in every two business mobile users are on our network. A recent Malta Communications Authority (MCA) survey also confirmed that our customer response rate leads within our sector, a position we are very proud of,” he asserts, since he sees this “as tangible proof of our hard work”.

He also credits Epic with having introduced “a new dynamic energy” into the sector on the island for it is “not held back by the traditional, more incumbent approach bigger operators sometimes have. From the introduction of pay-monthly plans free from contracts, to demonstrating the fastest 5G and 2Gbps broadband speeds, we continue to challenge the status quo,” he says.

This was Epic’s strategy from day one, he continues, while also ensuring a sustainable method for managing finances. “When launching Epic in Malta, we wanted to focus on being an efficient business by literally spending every cent wisely, which allows us to offer even greater value to the customer. The challenges posed by the pandemic have made being efficient more important, and we were prepared for it,” he says.

Moreover, these first years solidified customers’ needs for efficient communication. “While the world was in lockdown, mobility became even more important, keeping communities connected. As a result, services like courier delivery became a vital cog in the wheel. Several of the popular apps delivering these goods are powered by the Epic network, providing fixed connectivity solutions and managed services for our customers,” he explains.

The crisis brought on by the pandemic presented challenges to the team which, Pierre-Etienne says, were passed with flying colours. “The launch of Epic in Malta is a classic case study of resilience and teamwork. We started our transformation journey at the peak of lockdown in April 2020, launching the brand six months later. Some of us had only met over video calls. This way of working, going against any obstacle that gets in the way and being very agile amid uncertainty is the biggest takeaway that now leads us into the post-pandemic phase,” he explains.

Despite these difficulties, Pierre-Etienne witnessed the willingness of the staff at Epic to go the extra mile. “We certainly experienced a new range of highs and lows over the last year, but the most positive surprise was seeing how nothing stops a great team from achieving. The most arduous aspect was supporting and rebuilding a team culture with very limited physical meetups. Walking around the office now, you can feel the team’s energy, which is hard to replicate over video calls,” he says.

This steadfastness became core to the success of the company post-pandemic, in 2022. Yet, Pierre-Etienne’s international experience, no doubt, had a hand in uniting the team behind a common cause. “My accumulated experience working in various countries and very challenging markets with fierce competition such as in Romania, Egypt and France has served me to adapt quickly to this new environment, and act swiftly in executing our plan to reinforce our position in Malta,” he says. However, he is modest about his contribution. “My role,” he continues, “is also to support the fantastic team I found here at Epic. After all, it’s the people at Epic who have the skillset to understand our customers best and drive our success.”

This perspective is also informed by Pierre-Etienne’s knowledge of the ever-changing nature of the telecoms industry. “Today, everyone has at least one mobile phone, and broadband is present in almost all households. Our role as an operator focuses on democratising the way customers and businesses connect. At Epic we do this by making new technology accessible and affordable without compromising on quality. We don’t subscribe to the outdated idea that customers should have to choose one over the other. This is what we mean by our promise of ‘Great Network, Great Value’. We’re aware it is an ambitious promise but we’re on a journey to make it happen,” he attests.

Elaborating, he says that the operator’s role is “not limited to the consumer”. He points to the take-up of Epic, as a network for businesses, saying that Epic for Business is the most popular within the business space. “Our promise does not change, as today business customers need so much more than mobile. Through our dedicated Business Solutions team, we focus on making Fixed Broadband Connectivity affordable without compromising on reliability, security and quality,” he continues.

The next few months will see a consolidation of this energetic evolution. “Now more than ever, telecom companies are reimagining their business models. As Epic, we remain focused on connecting Malta to the future. This means building an infrastructure which is second to none, fine-tuning our ability to adopt new technologies to deliver new innovative products at speed and matching this great network with excellent customer experience. Indeed, currently, we are well on our way to completing the roll-out of our new network in 2023, and we will be dedicating a lot of our energy to making it as seamless as possible for our customers,” Pierre-Etienne describes.

This is imperative since the telecom ecosystem “continues to evolve as a dynamic regulatory, technological and competitive environment, extending far beyond the traditional scope of activities,” he attests. Moreover, “one thing that will certainly continue to evolve – and which we place great importance on – is enhancing customer experience. Today’s digital consumer expects uninterrupted connectivity, a wide range of customised offerings and the quick resolution of their issues, making it critical for us to create tangible value.”

As a business, Epic is determined to keep innovating and “to operate responsibly. A tangible example is our investment in one of the most powerful Customer Premises Equipment (CPEs) available in the market today, which offers the most diverse connectivity options to ensure best speed at great value. It combines all functions into one box and is WiFi6 certified – the latest generation Wi-Fi. Made up of 100 per cent recycled plastic, it’s considered to be something innovative and worth shouting about. We think it should be the norm, and a minimum expectation for businesses looking to grow, and doing so in a responsible way that is both cost-effective and beneficial to customers and the environment we live in,” he says, concluding.

This article is part of the serialisation of 50 interviews featured in MaltaCEOs 2023 – the sister brand to and an annual high-end publication bringing together some of the country’s most influential business leaders

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