Ep 25 – Get ready to use the public cloud… in Afghanistan

This week’s guest

Imtiaz Esmail

Tcell CFO | Roshan Strategic Advisor Tcell Roshan

Running a telco is a tough job anywhere, but imagine doing it in Afghanistan. This episode’s guest, Imtiaz Esmail, has done just that. As CFO of Afghan telecom Roshan, he helped guide the company through two devastating attacks on its network, infrastructure, and people. Rebuilding took immense courage and strategic vision, and in Roshan’s case, a commitment to digital transformation.

Today, we’re talking to Imtiaz about what it’s like to run a business from the center of a conflict and how the public cloud can play a role in making companies everywhere more competitive and resilient.

Click the play button to hear our conversation about:

  • How Roshan has fared during the recent unrest [1:50];
  • How the company achieved double-digit EBITDA growth despite operating in a complex geopolitical landscape [4:28];
  • The ways the public cloud helps unstable regions navigate uncertainty [9:38];
  • The steps telco leaders can take to get their organizations ready for a journey to the public cloud [13:07].

Links and Resources

  • You can find the transcript for this episode here.
  • Read about the May 31, 2017 vehicle bombing that destroyed Roshan’s headquarters and took team members’ lives
  • Roshan rebuilt in a new location, only to have its infrastructure hit again in January 2019 
  • Listen to Episode 18 to hear about the successful launch of Yaqoot, a digital mobile operator in the Middle East
  • Use this TCO calculator to find out how much you can save with Totogi’s public-cloud-native charging engine
  • Check out Forrest Brazeal’s Cloud Resume Challenge to find out how to boost your public cloud skills, or even better – get your team to do it
  • I imagine IT departments that are reluctant to move to the public cloud act a little bit like a bunch of hoarders.  Clean up your mess and move your workloads to the public cloud. Need inspiration? Check out the TLC show, Hoarding: Buried Alive

Author’s bio

Imtiaz Esmail served as CFO of Roshan in Afghanistan for eight years, transitioning to serve as CFO of sister-organization Tcell in mid-2021. While serving as Roshan CFO, he led two major financing rounds, set up working capital facilities of $35M, and invested in a digital journey that resulted in an improvement in EBITDA of 12-15%. He continues to serve as a strategic advisor to Roshan.

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Podcast Credits

  • Executive Producer and Host: Danielle Rios Royston, TelcoDR
  • Executive Producer: Kristin Donelson, OneLouder Marketing
  • Senior Producer: Lindsay Grubb, TillCo Media
  • Editor/Producer: Alisa Jenkins Wilson, Springboard Marketing
  • Audio Editing: Andrew Condell
  • Music: Dyami Wilson

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