This Man's Quest Is To Bring On the Future Of Connectivity Although his industry and company are more relevant than ever, there's still a lot people don't know about rising telecom entrepreneur Dennis Uy
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The problematic speed of the Internet connection in the Philippines is hardly a secret now. Although slow, unreliable Internet may have just been a lousy inconvenience in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic has upped the stakes as almost every aspect of life has now moved online. If the country's digital economy is to have any hopes of thriving, current circumstances just won't cut it.
This is a reality that Dennis Uy, founder and CEO of Converge ICT Solutions, understands acutely. It's also why he's driven to resolve the internet woes of Filipinos by providing reliable, affordable, high-speed fiber Internet throughout the country.
In the late 1970s, a grocery shopper in the Filipino city of Angeles, Pampanga, may have spotted a young Uy working around the family-owned store and carrying out various errands. He formed a hardy work ethic that followed him for the rest of his life. Uy fondly recalls taking the bus from Pampanga to Cubao back then, buying spare computer parts, and then going home to sell them to nearby vocational schools. He even once sold Betamax VHS tapes in their heyday, juggling this entrepreneurial streak with his education at Holy Angel University.
Yet it wasn't until the late 1990s that Uy really got involved with the telco business. In 1996, he started ComClark Network and Technology Corp., which would later become Converge. The company steadily expanded until 2019, when it received a US$225 million investment from a leading global private equity firm, Warburg Pincus―enabling Converge to bring their services to more Filipinos.
More than just business
Uy knows how detrimental slow Internet connection is, especially for the Philippines. After all, Facebook alone has 70 million users from the Philippines. Yet data also shows almost 45 per cent of Filipinos do not have reliable access to the Internet. With many sectors now wholly relying on stable Internet connections, Converge makes it a point to offer packages of up to 150 mbps.
In their quest to improve the nation's overall Internet infrastructure, Uy reveals that Converge has also partnered with some local government units in the provinces to provide better Internet connection in their area. They also provided free fiber Internet to thousands of public school students in Uy's hometown to improve their remote learning experience.
Keeping up in the new normal
In response to the pandemic, Converge quickly digitized their operations. Uy reveals that Converge Xperience App provides tips on how their customers can troubleshoot their Internet connection themselves. For those who still need help over the phone, the company also invested heavily in opening new customer lines and call center sites.
Uy also chalks up Converge's success to what he calls "the Converge advantage". This refers to the first-mover advantage in importing global innovations to the Philippines such as micro trenching. This advantage enables Converge to rapidly deploy their services.
Lastly, Uy expresses his gratitude to Converge's talented and hardworking workforce by saying they are also part of the Converge advantage.
It's all of these that Converge leverages to make sure they not only survive the pandemic, but actually come out stronger than ever going into the "new normal". While some challenges are inevitable, like the presence of cut-throat competition, Uy shares that it will be worth overcoming them as long as the company gets one step closer to fulfilling their mission of serving the underserved.
All these efforts help Converge become one of the top companies in the Philippines and Uy one of the top business leaders in the country. The 11th Asia CEO Awards recently recognized Uy with the Entrepreneur of the Year award and Converge with the Asia Circle of Excellence Technology Company of the Year award.
Certainly not bad for a boy who was once just an errand runner for his family's grocery store.