(L-R) Eva Andrén, head of Managed Services, Ericsson Middle East and Africa; Ali Al-Zahid, CEO of Zain Iraq (L-R) Eva Andrén, head of Managed Services, Ericsson Middle East and Africa; Ali Al-Zahid, CEO of Zain Iraq

Zain Iraq has extended its Managed Services contract with Ericsson till 2021. The scope of the contract has also been expanded and will see Ericsson supply a service operation centre and energy network operations centre to Zain Iraq. Ali Al-Zahid, CEO of Zain Iraq and Eva Andrén, head of Managed Services within Ericsson market area Middle East and Africa, tell CommsMEA about the deal and the benefits it will bring.

CommsMEA: How did the partnership come about?

Al-Zahid: The trusted partnership we have developed with Ericsson over the years has enabled us to create a shared vision for our technical and commercial success. The main drivers behind this successful relationship have been working in collaboration with Ericsson to understand our needs and ensure they are delivered in order to achieve the right results.

Andrén: Our longstanding partnership with Zain as well as our capabilities that contain the combined power and knowledge of over 1 billion subscribers for more than 300 engagements around the globe make us the trusted partner of choice in the area of Managed Services. Manifesting in unprecedented levels of flexibility, trust, loyalty and customer satisfaction are some of our key strengths. It’s our mission to lead transformation through mobility. The success of our customers is at the core of what we do and will always continue to be so.

CommsMEA: Why is your company more inclined towards the Managed Services concept?

Al-Zahid: The concept of Managed Services enables us to focus primarily on our marketing, sales and customer experience strategies; whilst in parallel the technical aspects are handed over to our partners (such as Ericsson) with full confidence knowing they can leverage on their wide global experience in a challenging market.

CommsMEA: Why are Managed Services important for operators to consider and what value will it bring?

Andrén: Managed Services allow the operator to focus on their customer experience and enhancing revenue streams in the key areas such as attracting more subscribers, retaining customers through various streams of evolving the end user experience and place more emphasis on customer satisfaction. In parallel, Managed Services utilise the global pool of resources maintaining a competitive edge from a technological point of view and faster time to market for the operator. Partners like Ericsson compliment the operators’ desires to fulfil their ambition and vision.

CommsMEA: What will this new deal bring to Zain’s end-users?

Andrén: We will be working with Zain on several areas of technological, service and commercial transformations by moving to an end user service- based Managed Service concept and offering Zain a true closeness to the end users.

Al-Zahid: Our hope is to further bring improved customer experience by virtue of continued modernisation of key areas of our network and infrastructure. We are actively focusing on the next generation of technologies and the comprehensive benefits it will bring to our customers/end users as we step into the new era of mobile telecommunications.

CommsMEA: What are your key focus areas in general during the next five years for network performance?

Al-Zahid: The key areas of focus for us will continue in line with our strategy. End user experience, customer service and technological evolution will continue to be our top priorities in order for us to transform the current technical centric Managed Services framework to a more end-user and service based model. This will empower us to become much closer to our customers by continuously fulfilling their needs. Other areas which will be of equal paramount are embracing of the Internet of Things and virtualisation as these technologies will help us to become even more dynamic and agile for our customers.

Our journey with Ericsson has begun and we look forward to walking through this journey together.