Ooredoo believes that its data leadership positions in key markets will ensure success in the fast-moving telecommunications sector, and is looking to build these positions as demand for mobile and fixed internet continues to rise in 2015.
In the Group’s most recent financial results, Ooredoo’s data revenues represented more than 30% of total revenues – a new record for the company. Data revenues grew by more than 40 percent year-on-year over the same period. The company also held data leadership positions in five out of nine key markets in 2014 – Algeria, Iraq, Qatar, Tunisia and the Maldives.
This significant success is a result of Ooredoo’s future-facing strategy, which looks to adapt to the changes taking place in the telecoms market.
Ooredoo has been driving data monetisation initiatives across its markets to increase data uptake and drive profitable revenue growth, as well as to effectively capitalise on its major CAPEX investments. These initiatives have included releasing a range of segmented data and voice products, supported by a variety of data packages, new device and OTT partnerships, and a strong focus on delivering a superior data experience.
Dr. Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo, explains: “In all our markets, we continue to innovate and launch new services that enhance the data experience of our customers and support their digital lifestyles. That is why we have been able to grow our leadership position, and why we will continue to deliver a better digital lifestyle for everyone.”
Ooredoo has engaged with a number of manufacturers to introduce the latest devices in its markets at very competitive prices. The company is also working on initiatives such as introducing low-cost 3G smart phones, device buyback programmes, device financing and attractive data bundles as part of its efforts to drive smartphone adoption and migration to 3G and 4G technologies.
Ooredoo’s 4G customer base is rapidly expanding and now represents 25 percent of all the company’s data customers across Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and the Maldives. Ooredoo has invested heavily in infrastructure and network upgrades, launching 4G+ and 4G services, and significant investments to upgrade fibre, data backhaul and traffic management capabilities to deliver a superior data experience.
The company has also placed high priority on the next generation of smartphone users who demand the latest digital services and smart devices, as well as innovative data products with OTT companies.
Ooredoo is continuing the momentum of new digital services and data launches in 2015. In Qatar, Ooredoo launched a world-class 4G+ (LTE Advanced) network last December. Ooredoo is the only operator in Qatar to combine 20MHz plus 10MHz bands on its 4G+ network, enabling it to reach the higher maximum top speed of 225Mbps, and giving its customers “faster on-average” Internet speeds.
In addition, the company has rolled-out a nationwide Ooredoo Fibre network in Qatar, which currently serves more than 225,000 customers. A new international study of global Internet speeds by Akamai names Qatar as one of the fastest-rising countries for fixed line Internet speeds in the world, offering average peak connection speeds of 62.8 Mbps in 2014, a 72 percent year-on-year increase. It attributes the significant rise to Ooredoo’s speed upgrade on Fibre in October 2014.
In Oman, Ooredoo launched an “Ooredoo Data Test Drive” promotion, which enabled customers to try a monthly data plan with enhanced 4G speeds. The promotion was a success and played a key role in doubling the company’s 4G customer base, with more than 70% now using data. The company also introduced “More Internet” recharge cards to drive data uptake.
Ooredoo Kuwait saw strong growth in 4G customers driven by handset and tablet-led smart bundles. The number of customers with 4G devices and 4G packs increased significantly year-on-year and Ooredoo was the first company in Kuwait to launch a data sharing/transfer product. Ooredoo Kuwait also recently launched a 4G+ (LTE advanced) new data portfolio.
In Iraq, Asiacell launched its long-awaited 3G/HSPA+ services in January 2015, which reached two million activations within first few months of the launch. Since then, there has been a rapid uptake of 3G customers supported by the innovative “check your offer” promotion with special benefits for data customers. The company also introduced anti-bill shock notification to enhance the data customer experience following the launch of 3G services.
Algeria and Tunisia also witnessed strong year-on-year growth in data revenue of more than 100%, supported by 3G rollouts and data-led offers.
Indosat in Indonesia has modernised its 3G network and launched high-speed 4G services in Jakarta, Bali, Bandung and Yogya, and rolled-out FTTx-based high-speed broadband services. Indosat also recently launched Internet.org in partnership with Facebook, to offer free basic Internet services to drive data penetration in the country.
In Myanmar, data growth continues to rise and is supported by the next generation U900 3G network and growing smartphone penetration rate. Data contributes to more than one third of total revenues already. The company invested in a number of partnerships to offer a range of devices with bundled data and voice benefits to drive 3G adoption across the country. More than 80 percent of Ooredoo’s customers in Myanmar are using smartphones.
Ooredoo Maldives strong positioning around “the best network for your smartphone” and “always connected” campaign helped to double the data revenues in Q1 2015 and lead the data market share. The company enhanced 4G and 3G footprint and launched a mobile live TV product, as well as social media bundled packs to drive data adoption and usage.