SPONSORED Q&A: Dr Homoud Alkussayer, vice president of wholesale, Saudi Telecom Company

09 May 2016 | Jason McGee-Abe

Dr Homoud Alkussayer, vice president of wholesale, Saudi Telecom Company (STC) talks to Capacity about an ever-expanding spectrum of innovative applications, infrastructure upgrades and international connectivity

What have been your key developments so far in 2016?

For the GCC Region and KSA in particular, 2016 so far appears to be a continuation and reinforcement of the developments that took shape in 2015. 

Homoud STC

The increasing market penetration of both fixed and wireless high-speed broadband is enabling users to access an ever-expanding spectrum of innovative applications via the internet while enjoying improved user-experiences. 

Towards such achievements, STC has progressed well on several front including the followings: within the KSA, we have continued to effectively deploy FTTH and have upgraded to a state-of-art 4G/LTE infrastructure that is available across 97% of the populated areas nation-wide; Outside KSA, STC continues to reinforce its regional leadership in international connectivity – to complement and add diversity for the more than 10 large submarine cable systems that are landing at the two stations in Jeddah and one in Al

 Khobar, the cable landing ceremony of SEA ME WE 5 at the Northern coastal city of Yanbu was attended by many national dignitaries including the Minister of Information Technology & Communications and the Governor of KSA’s telecoms regulator.

What are your strategic priorities moving forward this year?

The key strategic priority for STC’s wholesale business is to work hard to maintain leadership and gain a larger piece of the KSA and regional wholesale pie. 

We have recently implemented important initiatives that are giving added immediate focus to specific business segments along the lines of national services, carrier services and global services.

During 2016 we will complement our traditional wholesale offerings with new and innovative end-to-end solutions for our customers that include operators, OTT players and regional enterprises, where such services will be hosted out of our state-of-art MenaGateway data center in Jeddah. While pursuing a larger regional market-share on the top-line, STC will also be focussing on profitability through its higher-margin offerings. 

What are you hoping to achieve by attending ITW 2016?

The annual ITW gathering is viewed with great importance by STC as it offers a very effective venue to initiate as well as conclude many deals over a short period of time. It is amongst only a few annual events that STC is strongly committed to in order to conduct wholesale business. 

This year, we have scheduled more than 100 bilateral meetings concerning voice, data, roaming; we are concluding several supplier as well as partnership arrangements; and we will be actively engaging with several key OTT players for mutually beneficial business opportunities within the Middle East region.

What new opportunities do you see in the wholesale space over the next few years?

The next few years will be both challenging as well as exciting in the regional wholesale space. While the traditional wholesale services such as voice and data carriage and basic connectivity are being commoditised, many new opportunities are emerging. 

At a national level, the KSA’s governmental policies to promote/subsidise broadband penetration in order to accelerate socio-economic development of the country, along with changes to telecoms regulations towards more open access to networks, are presenting tremendous opportunities for STC to further monetise its national infrastructure through new wholesale offerings. 

At a regional level, STC foresees significant opportunities in leveraging its strategic location, its comprehensive submarine and terrestrial infrastructure including to neighbouring countries, and its very large state-of-art MenaGateway data center, to effectively offer a wholesale platform for cloud services, content delivery and internet of things.