Displaying items by tag: Kuwait

VIVA ranked Kuwait’s fastest mobile network

Written on Tuesday, 31 October 2017 12:14

STC subsidiary VIVA Kuwait has been recognized as "Speedtest Award Winner 2017 – Kuwait's Fastest Mobile Network", based on Ookla's analysis of Speedtest Intelligence data in 2017, in Kuwait. Eng. Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Badran, VIVA's CEO, received the award from Mr. Alan Kerrigan, Ookla Director, at VIVA's Headquarters.

Al-Badran commented: "Reaping such privilege proves our exceptional performance and the high quality standards our professionals are providing to our customers. We endeavor at VIVA to foster our leadership in the telecom market with our innovative products, services and network that meet our customers' aspirations."

The Speedtest Award for top providers in speed is determined using a Speed Score that incorporates a measure of each provider's download and upload speed to rank network speed performance. 

Speedtest® by Ookla® is a definitive way to measure internet performance. With billions of active uses to date, Speedtest is the dominant global leader in internet performance testing and metrics.  Ookla's mission is to help build a better and faster internet.

The technology behind Speedtest is purpose-built for accurate and unbiased internet performance testing, which empowers people all over the world to gauge and troubleshoot the speed of their internet connections.

Published in Telecom Operators

Kuwait authorities crack down on illegal cable network

Written on Tuesday, 03 October 2017 07:02

According to Kuwait’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), three men have been arrested in the country after successful raids in a residential area of Salmiya, where they had been operating a sophisticated illegal cable network. TV network OSN welcomed the news of a major blow to criminals stealing its content.

Detectices reportedly found dozens of illegal Dish TV India satellite set-up-boxes as well as pirated OSN hardware that were being used to illegally distribute content to 10,000 subscribers over a 15km area.

The discovery of the illegal cable network in Kuwait followed a six month investigation by the police after OSN’s dedicated Content Protection team filed a complaint with the Kuwait Ministry of Interior, CID and Ministry of Communications.

“I congratulate the Kuwait authorities for this successful operation against content piracy,” said OSN Chief Legal Officer, Sophie Moloney. “We are very grateful they have put a stop to this huge illegal cable network that was costing us millions of dollars in lost revenue.”

The arrested men now face charges of money laundering and misuse of Kuwait’s telecommunications infrastructure. OSN has been fighting TV piracy across the region, which “bleeds state exchequers” and “adversely impacts the creative industry” the company said.

Published in Satellite Industry

Ericsson has become a member of a consortium led by operator Zain Kuwait. The consortium will carry out a large digital transformation project for local utilities. The project will be completed by 2024 and as the sole technology partner, Ericsson will deploy a new smart metering solution.

The Enterprise and Cloud Billing solution implemented by the consortium will make it easier for the Ministry of Electricity and Water to collect revenue and distribute energy consumption over time. It will also improve the accuracy of invoices and give customers access to real-time information about usage. Around 800,000 new smart meters for electricity and water will be connected over Zain’s upgraded infrastructure.

Furthermore, the cross-industry Ericsson Multiservice Delivery Platform will help digitalize channels for consumer interaction, offering personalized and user-friendly services for all types of devices through self-service portals. Additional Ericsson solutions will provide important features for areas such as customer care, post- and prepaid services, performance management, event planning, and analysis of network data.

“We have worked closely together with Zain Kuwait from the start of this digital transformation initiative, and we have made a long-term commitment to enable new revenue streams,” said Wojciech Bajda, Head of Customer Unit Zain, Ericsson. “We really look forward to being part of this project and to help develop the smart city infrastructure.”

Ericsson will also provide a range of Managed Services for improved network operations and security, and for Internet of Things applications.

Kuwaiti telecom giant Zain's net profits in the second quarter of 2016 rose 14 percent despite currency losses and its operations in conflict zones, the company announced on Sunday, July 31. Zain said it posted a net profit of 45 million dinars ($149.5 million) in the three months to June compared with the same period in 2015.

The net profit of Kuwait's largest mobile operator in the first six months also rose by 2.0 percent to 82 million dinars ($272 million), compared to a year earlier, Zain said in a statement.

"It is pleasing to report growth... given that Zain group is exposed to conflict zones and currency fluctuations," chairman Asaad al-Banwan said.

Besides Kuwait, Zain has operations in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. It also manages a unit in Morocco. Zain businesses are most impacted by conflict in Iraq and currency losses in Sudan.

Consolidated revenues in the first half dropped slightly to $1.83 billion from $1.86 billion in the same period of 2015. Over the past 12 months, the company's total subscribers dropped by 1.1 million to 45.2 million.

Zain, in which the government holds a stake of almost 25 percent, is one of three mobile operators in the emirate, alongside National Telecommunications Co (Wataniya) and Kuwait Telecommunications Co (VIVA).

Published in Finance

Zain Group hosts Customer Engagement Forum in Kuwait

Written on Monday, 11 April 2016 11:25

Zain announced the successful conclusion of its Customer Engagement Forum 2016, a three-day event that was held in Kuwait from 4-6 April, which drew senior personnel from across the Group operations. Customer experience management remains one of Zain Group's keys strategic pillars, with the company investing heavily in the area in order to maintain the highest quality of service for its customers.

The Customer Engagement Forum focused on areas of customer experience management and topics of discussion included Customer Centricity and Complaint Management; Channel Economics; Change and Knowledge Management; Social Care as well as a dedicated session and focus on Zain's brand and digital online future strategic direction.

Key presentations were made to the Zain management by leading global and regional technology providers specialized in the customer management arena showcasing the latest solutions available, namely Cybermak, Matrixx, Qelp, ResponseTek and Sestek. In addition, innovative end-to-end mobility digital services provider FOO Solutions, the entity that Zain recently acquired a strategic stake in, showcased how mobile apps can be at the center of customer services.

The Forum was led by Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer, and Group chief commercial officer, Duncan Howard who have been strong advocates for the Group's focus on customer experience management, having overseen a number of key initiatives in the area recently.

Zain is set to continue to develop its laser-like focus on simplicity and operational efficiency, with customer experience remaining an important factor in driving commercial success. Retaining customers is vital and Zain strives to deliver the best experience in order to achieve this. Elements within Zain Group's customer experience management program include the quality of its network, delivery of value-added services, as well as the improvement of all customer touchpoints.

In an example of Zain Group's heightened investment in customer experience management-related activities, last year the Group and its country operations introduced a series of analytical tools and activities aimed at heightening customer satisfaction levels, the results of which are proving positive.

Zain's holding of regular Customer Week exercises forms part of the company's ongoing commitment to delivering the best-in-class customer experience, and was conducted across all Zain Group markets simultaneously. Zain personnel, including business chiefs, directors, managers, and general staff interacted closely with customers during the week through different activities arranged in conjunction with the local customer experience teams.

Published in Telecom Operators

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.

Published in Interviews

Committed to leading

Written on Tuesday, 15 March 2016 07:36

Guided by its vision of enriching people's lives and its belief that it can stimulate human growth by leveraging communications to help people achieve their full potential, Ooredoo Kuwait, is a member of international Ooredoo Group and provides mobile, broadband internet and corporate managed services tailored to the needs of customers and businesses. Active Telecoms caught up with Mohammed bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Thani, CEO and General Manager of Ooredoo Kuwait, to get the latest on the company's achievements, changes and future.

What are the company's key achievements in 2015? 

Ooredoo Kuwait introduced major developments in 2015 in terms of the services and products offered to our customers; this includes our 4G LTE network which now covers 92 percent of the state. We plan to roll out more towers in the near future.

We have also expanded our branch network and are offering new services to small and medium businesses, who we think are a very important customer segment to us.

What is the company's market share in Kuwait? 

Ooredoo has a strong 30 percent share of the local market, which is a good ratio in light of the competitive environment.

We are always attempting to attract more customers by offering unique products and services.

Revenues for 2015 were KWD 188.1 million (USD 619.8 million), an increase of 11.9 percent compared to 2014 of KWD 168.0 million (USD 573.3 million).

What is the percentage of data services within your revenues? 

The internet has become an essential component of everyday life, especially as consumers turn to voice-over-IP companies such as Skype for their communications. Accordingly, and as may be expected, data today accounts for 30 percent of our revenues across our group.

What is the future of the telecommunications sector? 

The telecommunications sector is rapidly evolving and has seen significant growth in recent years.It is still witnessing growth thanks to the introduction of competition, the growing needs and aspirations of our customers.

I see the future of the sector largely linked to the quality of the internet services provided by telecommunications companies.

Data access, in particular, is now an indispensable service for the vast majority of subscribers.

Social networking channels and mobile applications are now a staple part of the daily routine for the majority of people in Kuwait.

What are new revenue sources for you, given the decline in voice communication service and SMS revenues?

Although revenues from SMS messages and traditional voice calls have declined, the use of mobile data is rising. Data services, and more specifically the internet companies, have changed the rule of the game meaning our traditional communications services can no longer be the foundation.

The ownership of smartphones and devices continues to grow and our strategy is to achieve leadership in internet access.

What do you hope to see from the Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) in Kuwait? 

First of all, we must recall that the Kuwaiti telecommunications market is both dynamic and competitive; mobile penetration is around 180 percent and still growing.

We are witnessing a boom in the quality and richness of the services offered to all segments of society.

I see the need of an effective regulator who will develop the regulations and arbitrate fairly, resolve disputes, enforce quality control laws, and allocate spectrum to support the growth of the industry and economy. TRA should also look into offering operators their own international gateway, and to provide greater consumer protection.

We in Ooredoo Kuwait look forward to a positive relationship between both TRA and our fellow telecommunications companies. We also look forward to continue supporting all players to support the advancement of this vital sector.

What licenses do the sector need in the next phase? 

The authority has a number of important decisions to consider, including the license for international gateways and to create a fiber optic network across the state. They should also look into allowing virtual network partnerships and providing support for fixed-infrastructure investments and ISPs.

How do you see the future for the privatization of the sector? 

We believe that there are sectors/services which will need to be privatized in the near future; however, some areas including maintenance and facilities management (domestic and international exchanges and infrastructure, fiber optic, etc.) will still need to be under the Ministry's supervision and control.

The move to the partial privatization is a positive step towards enriching and promoting the principle of positive competition, which creates an attractive environment for investors.

With the rapid changes in communications technology, how ready is Ooredoo to keep up with these changes? 

Ooredoo Kuwait is considered one of the leading companies in introducing new technologies; we hire the top talents and train our employees to the highest standards to ensure that our customers are offered the latest and best telecommunications services.

We have invested significantly in upgrading our network, which allows us to continue introducing these services as and when they are available.

How is the company seeking to retain its position in the light of local competition?

Ooredoo is committed to being the leader in Kuwait, and continuously introduces new technologies and services that meet if not surpass the client's needs and aspirations. We have recently upgraded our entire network to LTE/4G + at no additional cost to the customer.

We have also introduced new offers for prepaid and postpaid customers; both are witnessing huge success. We will continue to search for methods to enhance customer's confidence by providing the best services and products.

What is the readiness of the company to launch 5G? 

Ooredoo Kuwait is working with its partners to provide the best products and solutions that ensure the company sustains its reputation as having the best network. We have recently signed an agreement with Huawei and look forward to expanding our network with the latest technologies and services.

Ooredoo has participated in the World Mobile Congress that took place in Barcelona earlier in February. What did the company highlight during this event? And what is the main agreement formed there? 

The company has used its presence at the event to highlight the incredible progress it has made in updating and optimizing networks in the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia, as well the range of solutions that Ooredoo companies are delivering over these next generation networks. As well as 5G, Ooredoo has also showcased Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services during Mobile World Congress.

Also, top executives from Ooredoo Kuwait have met with their counterparts at Huawei, the leading global ICT solutions provider, during the Mobile World Congress, as both companies prepared to showcase ICT Innovation previewing how Ooredoo Kuwait will use cutting-edge communication, IT and managed services to deliver value to its customers in the coming years.

Published in Interviews