Digital transformation will power our future

Ian Dench

Ian Dench

CEO , Ooredoo Oman

Ooredoo saw continued growth and profitability in 2016, enjoying its best year ever. This positive trend, in spite of a challenging economic environment, demonstrates the unabated demand for data, which during 2016 represents over 50 per cent or revenue, as well as the fact that we have listened to our customers, to provide them with the products services and affordable data plans they want and need.

These days, everyone has a smartphone and increasingly we will conduct all of life’s activities though our small glass rectangles of choice. But it is not just consumers themselves who will take on this digital revolution, but businesses, too, will need to adapt and change to me meet this shift in consumer behaviour.

Winners will move quickly losers will not. New business and business models have emerged that are solely digital and online, or app based. Indeed, a new digital industry is emerging where the product is an app for any kind of social interaction, service, content or market place; connecting buyers and sellers. This is creating previously unimagined opportunities for entrepreneurial endeavours and for start-up businesses to thrive and grow.

Connectivity is the driving force powering a whole new genre of commerce with local app based companies like Talabat and Carem following the lead of Uber and Airbnb.

Governments are also embracing the digital economy to empower and improve services for citizens and to increase efficiency and competitiveness.

To ensure Oman derives the desired economic benefit from this new digital environment, the telecoms industry needs to be future ready. We need to be able to support the digital transformation; one which will power our future national prosperity. Building an environment where entrepreneurship can flourish is key to ensuring home-grown success in the new digital economy.

We will also need to provide affordable data service and packages for consumers and businesses alike, to drive healthy adoption and use of digital services. We need to lead the way by digitising our own customer experience and creating a market place for local content and service companies for and with access to our customers. We are already taking steps in this direction with ‘carrier billing’ which allows any new service to be part of the customers’ bill or deducted from a top-up.

Furthermore, supporting start-up companies will be key to boosting economic progress and nurturing local talent. We do this currently, through a number of programmes including incubators, across different areas of the sultanate, and we will do more.

At the very heart of the new digital economy, is high speed broadband connectivity, at home, for the business and mobile, spanning the length and breadth of the country. We have invested heavily in our network, with spend in excess of RO350mn since 2012. While our focus this year and next is the completion of our 4G and 4G Advanced roll-out, our attention is already focused on the next generation of 5G connectivity and the opportunities and challenges that brings.

We are also accelerating our fibre to the home plans and will continue to deliver high speed secure communications for businesses. This trend will continue as we look forward with confidence and excitement, to the contribution and support we can provide to Oman’s economic progress.

Digital transformation will power our future
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