Jan Karmakar – combines technology and business

Jan Karmakar – combines technology and business

Jan Karmakar works in Tele2’s central organization as ‘Director International Carrier Business and Roaming’. When you place an international call, or use the roaming functionality when you are abroad, it is the behind the scenes work by Jan and his teams that make sure you can place a call or surf at good quality and get the best possible rates.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

– I was born in Glasgow UK. My father was from India and my mother from Sweden, but we moved to Västerås at a young age as my father got a job at ASEA. Growing up I had a neighbor who worked at Televerket and that family did a couple of two-year tours abroad. I remember thinking that I would also like to work in different countries and got advised by my neighbor to get degrees in both engineering and business.

In 1985 I got my degree in mechanical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and my first job was as a trainee at Ericsson. I stayed with Ericsson for ten years and during that time I got an MBA from Stockholm school of economics and also got a chance to work abroad in Mexico, Korea and in China on longer assignments.

Becoming a parent served as a career change catalyst.

– When my first child was born in 1992 I took three months parental leave, which at the time was pretty uncommon. My wife is also an engineer, with a career of her own, and it felt important to us to share the family responsibilities. Not only did the time at home provide me with the opportunity to spend time with my child, but also to really think about what I wanted to do next. That led to me start at Telia Mobitel and I got to be a part of the development of the Swedish cellphone network. Over the years I held a number of managerial positions and during my last three years I was Roaming Manager at what had then become Telia Sonera.

Which is the same position that Tele2 recruited you to in 2010. Can you share some information about roaming and international voice and what you do at work?

– International voice allows our customers make international calls from home networks and ‘roaming’ is the technical term that allows you to place and receive calls from a network that is not your home network, nationally or internationally. Our teams are responsible for the commercial aspects of this such as the agreements and costs. We also put requirement to the technical side, such as the quality of the calls and how they should be directed. I enjoy that it is an exciting combination of technology and business in an international context.

– We also have a new and rapidly developing new area called ‘Application to person’ (A2P). An example of an A2P service is when you get a text message with your airplane ticket or an offer from H&M. There are technical aspects of getting it to work as well as protecting our network from spam, fraud and arbitrage.

Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of work.

– I am an energetic person who is happy most of the time and enjoy sports and nature. In the summer I play golf and tennis and in the winter I like to ski, both downhill and cross-country. When I was younger I used to run marathons and I have recently taken it up again. My latest was Stockholm Marathon at the end of May.