“There is no denying that the future of the telecom sector lies in data,” said Dr. Nasser Marafih, Group CEO at Ooredoo. Indeed, operators in the region are working on shifting their business model from voice to data revenues, but they are finding many challenges on the way.
“With telecommunications standard services like voice and SMS declining, the telecom sector needs to not only address the shift in customers consumer habits, but also how to evolve our companies with new market entrants,” Marafih said.
He agrees that the future of the telecom sector lies in data and he notes that Ooredoo, as many other telecoms operators, have started rethink “drastically” their operations and business models.
“In the not too distant future, the conversation of challenges in monetising data needs to be discussed in the region, as well as how telecommunications companies can work with OTT players,” he added.
Marafih consider that OTT services need operators as much as telcos need them. “They [OTT providers] are the future of communication, but our services provide the infrastructure. By confronting the global situation head on, and inviting these next generation partners to brainstorm with us, I believe a mutually beneficial business model will naturally evolve,” he noted.
On how Ooredoo is working with OTT players, Marafih said to CommsMEA that the company is entering into new partnerships with the OTT players, based on the recognition that Ooredoo needs to find a business model that works for the OTT players and the company.
“A dialogue is necessary, because we provide the network that makes it possible for the OTT players to compete, and because working with them enables us to provide new experiences for our customers,” he added.
Read CommsMEA interview with Dr. Nasser Marafih on our September issue.