As an operator, we exist as the infrastructure, such as schools or hospitals in other sectors. Now, we have to define our role in the online sector and the future is coming. In every country, sectors across the economy are talking about 'smart', for example governments, the finance sector, education or health. The mobile is becoming the segment that everyone is going to use. Today, as a telco, we have to define what to offer in the mobile and the online world,” said Ahmad Al Hanandeh, CEO at Zain Jordan. Al Hanandeh has started to change the structure of the company and Zain Jordan is set to be part of the online world, as he told to CommsMEA.
Al Hanadeh believes that some operators in the region only provide connection to the online world and they stop the relationship with their clients once connected.
“The minute you [user] are online, we don’t know anything about you [user]. When the subscriber does mobile calls, send SMS or uses our traditional services, we know most of the things related to the subscribers. We need to understand this challenge in our country where the smart services are not mature and they are still at an early stage. We understand that we have a lot of opportunities, either on the applications side, financial services, education services or any other sector related to mobile,” he said.
In Jordan, operators are facing an added challenge, as the government doubled taxes on mobile phones from 8% to 16’% and from 12% to 24% on mobile subscriptions meaning the consumer is spending less on telecoms, as the industry and the GSMA revealed. Al Hanadeh believes that this decision by the Jordanian authorities was taken fast and under pressure.
“We are facing major economic problems and facing deficit. Today, managing priorities is very difficult [for the government]. The pressure is coming from all sides. We are living in the middle of a destabilised region. Jordan is surviving in the middle of many political and economic problems and the country is also receiving refugees. These factors made the government take certain decisions and there were fast decisions taken under pressure,” he commented.
Al Hanadeh highlighted that the telecom industry is talking with the Jordanian government in order to address these taxes to promote an attractive business environment for the telcos in the country. “We are reminding [the government] that telecoms is an important sector in Jordan and it provides around 80,000 jobs, as there are other sectors linked and dependant on it.”
In order to tackle the decreased profit that the increased taxes have inflicted, Al Hanadeh wants to expand Zain's services to other sectors where their consumers are still spending. He is planning to provide a customised offer and increase the number of services that consumers can get from the operator.
Developing local data
Al Hanadeh considers that there is a lack of local data in the region and Zain Jordan has started profiling its consumers by applying business intelligence systems to segment its clients more specifically. “We are completing a puzzle. Big data has different channels and we are building the puzzle together piece by piece, through different ways,” he said.
“In the past, telcos offered mass products and worked with averages, but today we are more focused. The community is segmented and we need to focus on these segments. We need to go into more detailed segmentation. We have changed the structure,” he commented.
Zain Jordan expects to offer a customised service based on the data that they have collected from this year. In order to complement the offering to its customers, the company plans to offer content to its clients. Al Hanadeh believes that there is a lack of Arabic content in the region and Zain Jordan has been working to promote content by supporting the youth segment of Jordan with start up programs.
During 2015, at the end of February, the company will also launch 4G in Jordan. The firm is going to focus on enterprise services and M2M, as it will drive new revenue sources to the company.
“Launching 4G will help us to reduce the pressure on 3G. We will also meet other requirements, like the ability to support M2M solutions in Jordan. We will also meet the demand for high capacity internet mobility, so the market that we are touching with 4G is not necessarily the regular consumer market,” he said.