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During MWC 2023, Telecom Review had an exclusive discussion with Vodafone Oman CEO Bader Al Zidi about their participation in this year’s event, how important talents are to the 100% digital telco and the steps they are taking to lay the right foundation for creating business sustainability.

How is Vodafone Oman leveraging the MWC platform to meet its ambitions of being a leader in the industry? What are the key highlights?

It’s a pleasure to be part of MWC Barcelona 2023, where our delegation is networking and exploring new technologies and partnerships with industry leaders, as well as attending key sessions and meetings.

At MWC this year, we have signed a strategic partnership with Digital Virgo to revolutionize our digital services, which will enable us to enhance our exclusive content tailored for young customers’ needs and lifestyles — including video streaming, gaming and entertainment. This will all be made available through our award-winning My Vodafone App.

We have been involved with several strategic meetings with our IT partners as well as Vodafone Global to explore enterprise, AI and machine learning, and map the way forward for collaborative projects between the two companies.

Additionally, we are also meeting with our network partner, Ericsson, to assess the progress on existing projects and also plan how we will “push the envelope” of innovation and 5G-led experiences in Oman in the coming year.

This year’s chapter of MWC holds great potential for us at Vodafone Oman, and we are looking forward to what we will bring back to Oman with us, starting with new partnerships, innovative ideas and market-firsts.

Please tell us about Vodafone Oman's collaborations and strategic partnerships to deliver high-capacity and open networks. What are the challenges?

From the start of the establishment of Vodafone Oman as a digital telco operator, it was part of our strategy to prioritize partnerships with national, regional and global organizations to bring in the expertise and value we require — and [through this seek] to operate at the high levels of service that consumers are increasingly demanding from their networks.

In addition to those partnerships that I have mentioned — [that] we are working on at MWC Barcelona — we have an agreement with Ericsson to facilitate data-driven decisions and AI-based solutions in Oman. Ericsson Expert Analytics and Network Optimization Cognitive Software solution has increased network agility and customer satisfaction.

How is Vodafone Oman blending human talent and technology to navigate its dynamic digital transformational journey with emerging technologies and across sectors?

We realized that our only distinguishing factor would be the talent that we have, and addressing the digital enthusiast market requires a new generation with new talents and visionaries. We’ve created an environment where we’re able to attract talents, from different industries. It’s been an interesting journey for us, and the Vodafone brand coming to Oman has paved the way to attract more talent.

Recently, we’ve been winning innovative types of awards for our proposition and digital marketing as well as the innovation that we’ve brought through our offerings that is only possible through the talents that we have.

We are the new-generation telco, which means we were born digital. This business model allows us to be lean, agile and efficient in what we do and how we do things. It makes our offering unique, with fully digital onboarding; e-stores; highly customized digital solutions regarding customer care/complaints; fully integrated IT and networks; and subscription-based services.

This does not mean we underplay the importance of our human capital. On the contrary, our slogan “Together We Can” is a true embodiment of our belief that talented individuals, together with cutting-edge technologies, can lead the way towards building a bright future that is sought-after by everyone.

Today, Vodafone in Oman has positioned itself as 100% digital with a 100% cloud-based network infrastructure, while our network was constructed as one of the only fully cloud-based networks, making it more reliable and efficient.

And at the helm are professional, forward-thinking local talents, internationally trained, from our care and IT to sales and marketing, not to mention our senior leadership team.

How is Vodafone Oman addressing the key topic of business sustainability for its business operation as well as that of its customers?

We are at the beginning of building the main foundation. Years after our launch, we are focused on expanding our 5G network everywhere and the applications, which are at the center of the services that we provide to our customers.

We are dedicated to maximizing profitability and minimizing waste, as well as being committed to financial responsibility and long-term sustainability.

Optimization of costs and strategic expense management has allowed us to maintain a positive financial outlook, highlighting our ability to operate effectively in a challenging economic environment.

Where we are using the latest digital technologies, it is not just because it is a “trend” or available, but because it is helping to make our digital services truly transformative — particularly those now available to us as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

We are harnessing the power of collaborations with SMEs, which we believe is an underserved segment, and our In-Country Value (ICV) creation is also what makes us different. We have managed to achieve this by creating local partnerships worth tens of millions of Omani rials since the time of our launch.

For example, instead of building our own telecom towers, we have leased tower capacity from Oman Tower Company, a local Omani tower. Likewise, the fiber connecting our sites has been leased from Oman Broadband, another state-owned company.

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