During MWC 2023, Telecom Review held an exclusive interview with Ooredoo Qatar’s Chief Business Officer, Thani Al Malki, where he discussed the steps being taken following the telco’s success in 2022 and how technologies are impacting the company’s products and solutions today.

With the record-breaking performance of Ooredoo Qatar during the FIFA World Cup, how will you, as a telecom operator, continue to deliver the best user experience with 5G and other technology innovations?

Along with our partners and what we have done throughout the past few years in preparation for the FIFA World Cup, we have really [been] breaking records in terms of performance during the FIFA, and it was impressive how we are able to give the consumer and fans the flavor of what the Ooredoo network can provide.

Moving forward, we have to take the opportunity to deliver what’s next from a 5G perspective. We have tested the network, and it works. People have really enjoyed it throughout the FIFA World Cup, and now we need to build on top of our network and focus on emerging 5G use cases.

With MWC’s theme this year focused on unleashing tomorrow’s technology today, how do you see emerging technologies impacting Ooredoo Qatar’s products and solutions moving forward?

From that perspective, I would split my answers into two parts. The first part is building on top, growing the network and aiming to cover the whole of Qatar.

At present, 93% of Qatar is covered in 5G. We want to enhance that coverage map for customers and include more indoor sites as well, so they can enjoy their Internet experience and have a seamless journey with us.

As for the second part, we have been talking about IoT for a very long time, so it's not an emerging technology but rather using the technologies which are available today to empower the IoT. We are also exploring how to use AI to really sustain our network in terms of network optimization and maintenance prediction, and we are also delving into augmented and virtual realities (AR/VR).

As an example, our customers throughout the FIFA World Cup benefited from the ability of AR and how it is readily available and done from the FIFA+ app. Here, they were able to check out the players and get information from the field in real time.

VR is actually the next step, where we could see from MWC, there are a lot of applications that will really take that experience — whether it's a concert or game — towards the consumer at the [home]. This is really fascinating, and I think it's about time to harness such applications and benefits.

How will Ooredoo Qatar continue to take enterprises to the next level with its award-winning network and ICT communication services?

For enterprises, I think one of the most important aspects now is trying to build up use cases within airports and seaports, among other verticals, that will work hand-in-hand with our 5G network. There are a lot of applications that can be built on top of having that secured 5G private network.

From an overall perspective, in Ooredoo Qatar, we have an available network with high-speed, low-latency connectivity, and that is how enterprises will have a quick win to adopt some new technologies.

In line with network modernization and advancements, how will Ooredoo Qatar ensure sustainability in the long run?

One of the ways is reducing e-waste, which can be done back-to-back with our vendors. Another aspect is operations. If we look at the network capability, if you run the network throughout the hour, we are producing more carbon emissions in the sites and grids, needing more generators to function.

Hence, for operations, Ooredoo is looking into solutions that reduce not only the cost but also the emissions as well. We have implemented some network solutions that will drive efficient utilization of the network throughout the day — adding or reducing the capacity as needed — impacting energy consumption. In the long run, this will significantly reduce our costs and add value to our mission of being sustainable as an operator.

What can people expect from Ooredoo Qatar for the rest of 2023?

Building on the success we had in 2022, I think we're ready to meet more of our customers’ expectations and enhance customer experience with more digital solutions, particularly on IoT, smart cities and cybersecurity. In this way, we will serve our customers better and fulfill our vision of upgrading their world.

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