Company Strategy

Yousuf Al Kubaisi, Ooredoo Q&A: Targeting Middle Eastern opportunities in 2014

This year is proving to be an exciting one for Ooredoo. Here, the company’s chief of wholesale, Yousuf Al Kubaisi, identifies some of his highlights.

What excites you most about working in the telecoms industry right now?

We believe that communications enrich people’s lives and support human growth. The social impact of our work is truly exciting at the moment.

Globally, Ooredoo is facing some of its most inspiring opportunities at the moment. In 2013, Myanmar became our newest market, where we defeated stiff competition to be awarded one of the two mobile network licences and have the opportunity to build a next-generation network for a customer base that had only limited access to mobile and the internet in the past. Such is our confidence that we can make a genuine difference, we have announced our intention to launch 3G services, offering the people the opportunity to go online via their mobile for the first time in their lives.

This excitement is matched at home in Qatar, where we launched fibre services and 4G last year. Young people in Qatar are switched on to the opportunities of the digital economy, so to see them embrace the opportunities of these technologies is inspiring.

Plus, there is huge opportunity for growth. Ooredoo Qatar launched wholesale operations in 2010. Since then, the company has grown to provide a world-class network that serves as a global exchange for global data, internet, voice and roaming traffic from East Asia to Europe and the United States.

Ooredoo has built a thriving and fast-growing wholesale business in Qatar – offering the largest internet peering network in the Middle East – and is interconnected with more than 100 operators, including many of the largest in the world.

How has the company transformed from a primarily domestic operator known as Qatar Telecom, through to the globally recognised Ooredoo brand?

Ooredoo took an important step forward in 2013, when we embraced our new brand and made a promise to our customers that we would strive to support human growth in every market that we operate in.

The aim of the new brand was to reflect the values and aspirations of our customers, who – across all our emerging markets – are young, ambitious and eager to use technology to improve their lives. That’s why we chose the name “Ooredoo”, which means “I want” in Arabic.

Since announcing the global launch of Ooredoo in February 2013, we have successfully rebranded operations in the Middle East (Qatar), North Africa (Tunisia and Algeria) and Asia (the Maldives).

There was a lot of work and investment that led up to the launch of the new brand. We began our international expansion back in 2006, launching operations in Oman. Since then, we’ve expanded into Asia, with operations in Indonesia, the Maldives and now Myanmar, among others, plus growth across the MENA region, with operations in Kuwait, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq and Palestine, as well as Qatar.

Matching this global growth has been a focus on customer service and the customer experience. From a consumer buying a mobile phone, through to the largest enterprise, our teams work hard to understand what our customers want and need, and strive to deliver it.

How do you see the wholesale telecoms industry evolving in the future?

The future of our industry is data, and we see rising demand across the board for data services. People increasingly see mobile access to the internet as a basic right, and – as smartphones become more advanced and more easily available – that is driving demand for data ever higher.

Ensuring that networks are robust enough, that packages are tailored to meet the needs of consumers and that devices are accessible for all so that everyone can benefit from access to the new data revolution – these are the challenges of the future.

How is the Middle East responding to the phenomenal demand for bandwidth?

The Middle East as a region has seen tremendous international bandwidth growth in recent times. It is gradually becoming the preferred region for business services, working with the most prestigious enterprises and supporting a thriving SMB sector.

Our strategic partnerships with the carriers in the Middle East are aimed to expand our respective networks in the region. Our collaboration seeks to leverage on the strengths of Middle Eastern carriers in providing a fast, resilient end-to-end connection for wholesale and enterprise customers with large capacity requirements.

To provide an insight into Ooredoo, the company has been amongst the fastest-growing wholesale operators in the Middle East, offering a full range of wholesale voice, data and roaming services. Qatar today boasts one of the most vibrant economies in the region and we at Ooredoo are very excited by the business opportunities it offers.

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