Alan Gow, group CEO, Virgin Mobile MEA : Alan Gow, group CEO, Virgin Mobile MEA :"EITC owns the business and operates the Virgin Mobile UAE brand. Virgin Mobile MEA has an advisory relationship with them."

Alan Gow, the new group CEO of Virgin Mobile MEA on the launch in UAE and how the company differentiates itself as a consumer favourite with a digital start-to-finish strategy.

The excitement around the beta-launch of Virgin Mobile UAE got even better as CommsMEA spoke to the new group CEO of Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (VMMEA), Alan Gow.  Gow comes with an extensive Virgin senior leadership profile, having been a co-founder of the original Virgin Mobile in the UK alongside Sir Richard Branson.

Super pepped up with the interest Virgin Mobile UAE has managed to garner from the pre-registration stages itself, Gow is confident of the Virgin brand soaring to new heights in the coming times. 

Explaining the business model in the UAE, Gow says: “It’s an interesting and different model for Virgin Mobile. EITC owns the business and operates the Virgin Mobile UAE brand. Virgin Mobile MEA has an advisory relationship with them. We are involved in the development and design of the product. We are involved in the management, as well, but in an advisory capacity. We have no equity in VMUAE. The Virgin Group, which is the owner of all the different Virgin brands, has a licensing relationship with the EITC.” 

He adds that considering that Virgin Mobile has a unique way of presenting itself to the customers, it is very important to make sure that the Virgin brand is protected. “Fortunately, EITC understands the brand very well.” 

However, wouldn’t an independently owned business be a more lucrative option? Gow explains that the decision to enter with such a different model has been well-thought over. “There’s no immediate prospect of regulations allowing a MVNO in the UAE. And yet we know the Virgin brand will go down very well here, so we are more than happy to do it this way. And moreover, it helps VM MEA story in the region to have this presence in such a dynamic market. With EITC’s expertise, network, and resources, I am sure they will do a really good job with VMUAE.”

Ruling out assumptions around two competitive brands under the EITC umbrella, Gow says that it wouldn’t be a problem since EITC has the expertise and market knowledge to target various segments of the market with the two brands. He adds that, this would be quite a beneficial step for the UAE consumers, as the entry of Virgin will spark off a new wave of innovation in the mobile service market. “If you look at how we have positioned Virgin Mobile in the UAE, it’s a fully digital start-to-finish product. Du doesn’t have such an offering today. Etisalat is trying to do it. So, EITC instantly gets the first-mover advantage with the Virgin brand. There are plenty of customers in the UAE to target, and having a second brand will help EITC enormously to catch up with Etisalat,” Gow says. 

Virgin Mobile UAE has made the whole process of getting a new connection as simple as a matter of few clicks. The user doesn’t need to queue up to talk to someone or get a SIM card. Gow believes the VMUAE strategy places the brand at the forefront of digital revolution in terms of a mobile offering. “It might not be long before others try to imitate this, however we take that as a compliment, “he adds with a chuckle.