BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: Telecom giant Ooredoo is gearing up to launch big service packages within a couple of months which are expected to surprise everybody, said Ooredoo Qatar Chief Executive Officer Sheikh Saud bin Nasser Al Thani yesterday.
“Our new service packages which we are expecting to announce within next two months will surprise everybody,” he said. However, he did not provide any further details about the product.
Sheikh Saud, while speaking with The Peninsula on the sidelines of the company’s Annual General Assembly Meeting, said: “We are expanding our capacity to further enhance the quality of our services across the country, and working on the completion of the remaining 400 sites (500 sites already completed) with 4G networks. In addition, we have some big projects going on in 2014 such as the national rollout of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) high-speed broadband network infrastructure.”
The AGM approved the recommendation of the board of directors to distribute a cash dividend of 40 percent of the nominal share value (QR4 per share). In addition, shareholders elected Ibrahim Abdulla Al Mahmoud to fill the vacant position on the board.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman, Ooredoo, highlighted some of the achievements of the last financial year, including the global launch of the Ooredoo brand, and subsequent national launches in markets such as Qatar, Algeria and the Maldives. Sheikh Abdullah said: “Transforming our company into Ooredoo was always about much more than simply changing our name. The transformation process was about taking our company to the next level — bringing our strategy to life with a new, dynamic brand and leveraging our combined resources to transform our customer offering.”
Asked if call tariffs and data charges are likely to come down in the days to come, Sheikh Saud said: “Although our rates are the lowest in the region, but we are continuing to strive for providing better deals, especially on international calls, and expecting to launch new products soon.”
On the rising level of competition faced by Ooredoo from Vodafone, its only rival in the local market, he said: “Given our competitive prices and high quality of services both in the GSM and landline category, Ooredoo still has comparative advantage in many respects, which include wide network coverage and infrastructure.”
Dr Nasser Marafih, Group CEO of Ooredoo, said: “Corporate sector (B2B), which accounts a significant portion of our revenue, will continue to remain as one of the most important areas of business focus. Given Qatar’s efforts to become a knowledge-based society, there is a high growth potential in the corporate area, and as the chairman mentioned in his speech, we are building dedicated teams to focus on the segment.”
Asked about Myanmar’s business strategy, Ooredoo’s latest overseas market, Marafih said: “The strategy would be similar to any other ‘green field’ market where (mobile) penetration is very low. Since in case of Myanmar it is less than 10 percent, we will try to grab as much market share as possible.”
Ooredoo’s consolidated revenue in 2013 increased by 1 percent to QR33.9bn compared to QR33.5bn in 2012, while net profit attributable to shareholders went down by 12.5 percent to QR2.6bn against QR2.9bn during the corresponding period in 2012.