John Lincoln, SVP- SMB at Etisalat John Lincoln, SVP- SMB at Etisalat

John Lincoln, SVP- SMB at Etisalat is bullish about the potential of Etisalat’s SMB unit considering SMBs account for more than 60% of the country’s GDP and most of them are laggards when it comes to going digital.

Ahead of a big exciting launch from Etisalat’s SMB unit possibly in the fourth quarter of 2017, CommsMEA caught up with John Lincoln, senior vice president - small and medium businesses (SMB) at Etisalat.

Lincoln is very optimistic about the potential of SMB business not just for Etisalat, but for telcos in general. The fact that SMBs make a major contribution to the GDP and employ more than 90% of the people makes it obvious that their growth directly reflects in profits for the service providers as well. While the market has created an inevitable demand for digital transformation, SMBs are still lagging behind in the journey. That creates a huge marketplace for Etisalat’s SMB unit to operate in and generate profitability, while accelerating the digital journeys of its customers.

Though the year 2016 was quite a bumpy one for most businesses in the region, Etisalat’s SMB unit had some successful projects taking shape. Lincoln says the most successful one was the introduction of ‘Business in a Box’. He adds that though the service hasn’t hit a critical mass yet, the customers’ confidence in Etisalat as a credible ICT provider in the market has definitely gone several notches up. He further mentions that the majority of the customers who had signed contracts for Etisalat’s Business Quick Start proposition also have been renewing their contracts.

Moreover, Etisalat had launched a dedicated call centre for SMB customers in late 2014, which after scaling up in 2015, finally matured in 2016. As yet another achievement of the unit in 2016, Lincoln highlights the zero upfront campaign which was targeted at increasing market awareness of proportions beyond traditional telco services for the SMB segment.