Displaying items by tag: Zain
Zain, Kuwait’s leading telecommunications company, today announced their collaboration to launch a new cloud disaster recovery service that will provide IBM and Zain’s enterprise customers with cloud-based business continuity capabilities and faster disaster recovery of their critical IT systems, without incurring the infrastructure expense of a second physical site. Through the new service, customers will benefit from the added flexibility of keeping their data in-country on IBM Cloud.
The disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) market size in the Middle East is $100.64 million and is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 44.8 percent through 2021. The Middle East region is experiencing a significant increase in DRaaS adoption due to the increasing number of cyberattacks and other data threats like security breaches, software and hardware failures, and power outages, according to MarketsandMarkets.
The new cloud disaster recovery service will help protect IBM and Zain customers against data loss from their own servers or from other cloud services, and can maintain readiness without the need to invest in additional physical space or stand-by hardware. The service will provide replication of critical applications, infrastructure, data and systems to IBM Cloud so customers can recover from an IT outage within minutes.
Amr Refaat, General Manager, IBM Middle East and Pakistan, commented: “Unplanned downtime or data loss is a risk any business can face. Not only can this lead to business loss but present a threat to a company’s reputation amongst its customers, stakeholders, and the wider public. Having a resiliency plan in place should play an integral part in every business. Through the new cloud disaster recovery service, IBM and Zain customers can run their operations at ease, while we provide around-the-clock monitoring of the recovery environments.”
“Today’s announcement comes as part of our vision to transform Zain into a digital lifestyle provider," said Zain Kuwait’s Chief Executive Officer Eaman Al Roudhan. “The business needs of our corporate customers are continuously changing, and offering them innovative solutions to help maintain resiliency is a top priority for us.”
The cloud disaster recovery team will monitor developing disaster events 24/7 and help ensure that the infrastructure of IBM and Zain customers is equipped to handle the latest threats to keep data, applications and transactions secure. The new service will also enable customers to adjust and customize their resiliency strategies to their own requirements to optimize recovery time.
The new service underscores IBM’s expanding business continuity and resiliency services portfolio. In today’s “always-on” world, IBM offerings like DRaaS and Cloud Resiliency Orchestration are built to simplify and automate the disaster recovery process, increase workflow efficiency, and reduce risk, cost, and system testing time for clients around the world. With more than 50 years of business continuity and disaster recovery experience, today IBM has over 300 resiliency centers across 68 countries.
Zain’s strategy of being a sustainable digital communications company has long focused on the customer experience and using technology to create more value for the customer. The launch of this service is one of the major steps in the company’s strategic plan to introduce more distinctive digital services dedicated to corporate and enterprise customers.
For the first time in its history, Zain Saudi Arabia recorded profit in the first quarter of the year of 45 million riyals compared to a loss of 250 million riyals during the same period last year. The company’s profits came contrary to expectations that indicated a loss of about 97 million riyals.
Zain Saudi Arabia attributed its profitable Q1 results to a decline in amortization as a result of the 15 Hijri year extension of its operating license, as well as the low cost of interconnection, the decline in general administrative services, and growth of high margin services.
Zain Saudi Arabia’s extended operating license, which will now expire in January 2047, was announced by the Kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) in October last year. CITC will also migrate Zain KSA to a unified telecommunication license that supports both service-neutrality and technology neutrality, allowing the company to provide all telecoms services using appropriate technologies within Zain KSA’s approved frequency bands. In addition, the CITC allowed other Saudi-licensed telecom companies to obtain the same unified license.
A condition of the 15 Hijri year license extension will result in the KSA Government’s additional entitlement of five percent of Zain Saudi Arabia’s annual net income throughout the extension period. The overall financial impact of the extension is expected to benefit Zain KSA’s annual amortization by approximately SAR 433 million (US$115 million) per annum.
Since winning the license in 2007 in an auction bid and launching commercial services in the Kingdom in 2008, Zain Group has worked with Zain Saudi Arabia in transforming the mobile operation that now serves 10.7 million customers. The operation’s heavy investment in its state-of-the-art 4G LTE network is paying off as it has resulted in an impressive 57 percent rise year-on-year in data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS), representing 31 percent of total revenues as of 30 June 2016.
In contrast to Zain Saudi Arabia’s recent reported financial success, the company’s subscriber base shrank by 13 percent to reach 10 million subscribers, according to its Q1 results, after the adoption of the new fingerprint authentication system in Saudi Arabia. The CITC announced last year it would enforce the new regulation requiring all telecommunication subscribers to register their fingerprints.
The decision was based on the Ministry of Interior’s request to ensure information of SIM cardholders are protected, and to prevent people from obtaining mobile phones with fraudulent identification cards. Abdur Rahman Al-Mazi, a communications and information technology expert, predicted last year that an estimated 18 million subscribers may be lost to companies providing communication services, which would result in loss of earnings.
In December 2015, Eaman Al Roudhan made history as the first appointed female CEO of Zain Kuwait. She brought over 20 years of experience to her role, to work closely with the Zain Group Board and executive team to enhance Zain Kuwait's market leadership. In the following interview, Mrs. Roudhan opens up about her role at Zain Kuwait.
Zain Group is one of the leading telecom innovators across the Middle East. Its innovation shone through in November when the company announced the placement of Mrs. Al Roudhan as the first female CEO of the Group's flagship and most profitable operation, Zain Kuwait, effective from December 1. Al Roudhan, a results-focused telecommunications executive, brought over 20 years of experience to her new position as CEO, 18 years of which were spent in various executive management and leadership roles within Zain Kuwait and other Zain Group affiliates. Prior to her position as CEO, Al Roudhan was the chief regulatory officer of Zain Group.
Her career in telecommunications began with Zain in 1998 within the Kuwait operation, and launched the first mobile prepaid service in the country, which went on to dominate Kuwait's prepaid mobile customer base. Having grown within the company, Al Roudhan's responsibilities grew too, as she participated in the activation of startup teams in several Zain operations across the Middle East, namely Bahrain, Iraq, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Mrs. Al Roudhan is an active member of international standards and regulatory affairs bodies such as the GSMA Arab World regional interest group and the GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer Group (CROG). In the following Q&A, she shares her thoughts on MWC, her appointment as CEO and the future of Zain Kuwait.
What brings you to Mobile World Congress this year? Why is this event important to you?
Every year, I come here to seek ways to enhance our overall customer experience. When I used to work in the technical side of things, I was more concerned about improving the quality of service. My team and I have not come here for technologies, but to try to see how we can get closer to our customers. For example, when looking at the internet of things (IoT), it's not important to customers how it works. You can operate it over different technologies or solutions, partners or providers, but what matters is how customers can use it. We can use the essence of IoT to change the position of mobile operators from being more responsive, to taking the initiative instead of waiting for customers to call us and complain about our services. We should be compensating or rewarding our customers for their loyalty and their usage and making sure they are satisfied.
This year's MWC theme is: ‘Mobile is Everything'. What does this theme mean to you?
I like this theme a lot and it speaks for itself. The mobile operators and mobile technology in general is now everything, everywhere, and has developed into the internet of things. We need to look into the different layers that we can build on top of that. Eventually, mobile operators will move on to ICT since it is merging with telecoms. When I first joined Zain Kuwait as CEO, I was telling my team that they need to prepare themselves to embrace merging into a utility company, because I predict that it will happen very soon.
It's been a few months now since your appointment as the first female CEO of Zain Kuwait. Can you tell us about your career history and what expertise you bring to Zain?
I have earned all of my telecom experience working for Zain in different countries in the region. When Zain was growing its portfolio, I was among a group of fortunate people who were able to broaden their professional as well as personal mental scope, horizons and experience. I had the opportunity to work in almost every area of business division within Zain, which gave me a lot of responsibilities, but also allowed me the chance to grow professionally. It wasn't difficult for me to take on this role as a female because I believe that women can be successful leaders as good as men
How do you plan to contribute to the transformation of Zain Kuwait now that it is merging with IT?
Any leader should focus on preparing an organization for change and transformation. The major changes that I find myself facing is the need to mandate the transformation from the circuit switch to IP, from the conventional mobile offering to digital, from pipe to services, from consumer to full-ICT, and of course, the transformation to smart and connected. Each one of these changes requires preparation for the transformation journey. I'm starting with the culture, with the team, and trying with the team to understand how our systems can be better prepared for these changes. We need to move fast, but we also need to move steadily.
Zain Kuwait recently received four titles as part of the Advertising Creativity Awards 2015. What do these awards mean to you?
Branding is very important to us. I'm very happy to see that our brand is not only keeping its strength, but also growing. I'm very proud of all of the achievements that my team and the previous CEO of Zain Kuwait achieved. These awards were received for the work that was achieved in 2015. It gives me great pride considering the innovative way the team is handling our brand. In our region, many operators rebranded themselves soon after Zain did back in 2007. We are still looking to maintain our position as the differentiator, and I think these awards tell us that we are on the right track.
You recently met with the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Mr. Houlin Zhao, at Zain Group HQ in Kuwait. Can you tell us about this meeting and the significance of it?
I was very pleased to meet with Mr. Zhao at the ITU Forum. I was also very pleased with his request to visit our headquarters in Kuwait. I had previously read about him and knew about his expertise, and had previously interacted with him via email, but I had never met him until the ITU Forum. During his visit, he came with a good sense of responsibility. He knew that Zain is no longer operating in Africa, so he raised concerns about how we can enhance the broadband and connectivity penetration in Africa. He asked how Zain could help with this issue, and I found it to be very inspirational. He conducts his position with a strong sense of responsibility and commitment. He isn't technically-driven, or worried about the relationship between operators and ITU, but more concerned about the bigger picture and how established companies like Zain can contribute to that bigger picture.
2016 is shaping up to be a big year in terms of technology breakthroughs. Can you share with us some of your plans for 2016?
I am still in the process of putting together my strategy. All I can say is that we need to elevate the concept of connectivity. We want to make sure that we are more connected to our customers, more connected to the other mobile operators in the region, and more connected with our partners where there is an overlap between what they're offering and what we are offering. We need to maintain this alignment because otherwise our value will diminish in the market for everyone and everyone will be a loser.