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Telecom Review conducted an exclusive interview with Abdullah Aldahmashi, Business Operation General Manager, center3, delving into the company's significant role in shaping the future of GCC countries, in line with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030. center3's competitive advantages in the wholesale market, its unique services, and how investments in submarine routes, data centers, and international Points of Presence (POPs) position it as a regional digital hub were explored. Additionally, center3's key financial initiatives driving sustainable growth in the digital landscape were uncovered.

What strategies will center3 employ to shape the future of KSA and GCC countries in alignment with KSA's Vision 2030, and how does it plan to achieve this goal?

The core concept behind center3 is deeply influenced by the Vision 2030 goal of positioning the region as a logistical and digital hub. The name itself reflects this inspiration, symbolizing the center of three continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. The GCC stands to benefit in three main ways. Firstly, there's improved customer experience through content localization, leading to reduced latency and faster service delivery. Secondly, boost economic transactions among GCC providers leading to better GDP and overall economic outcomes. Lastly, and most importantly, center3 contributes to the Fourth Industrial Revolution by providing essential infrastructure for technologies like AI, blockchain, cloud computing, and automation, all of which rely heavily on robust data center infrastructure and reliable connectivity via submarine cables.

With the growing competition in the wholesale market and the region, what are center3’s competitive advantages, and what unique services does center3 provide?

We didn't start from scratch; we inherited decades of experience carved out from stc. This enabled us to quickly capture market share in DC and connectivity. Presently, we serve 70% of international internet originating from Saudi Arabia and host 60% of existing data centers in our facilities. With our center3 value proposition and the integration of various assets in data centers and submarine cables, we offer a comprehensive global solution for our customers.

With investments in submarine routes, data centers, and international POPs, how is center3 leveraging these assets to expand beyond KSA and position itself as a regional digital hub?

Currently, at center3, we position ourselves as a connectivity hub with 16 submarine cables connecting to Saudi Arabia, making us the largest investor in the region. However, we recognize that being a connectivity hub alone is not sufficient. Many countries have evolved from being connectivity hubs to becoming digital hubs, which provide more value to consumers. That's why we also offer data center services, with 25 different data centers across GCC countries (with ongoing expansion), including one in Bahrain. Additionally, our acquisition of CMC enables us to expand into Africa, further solidifying our regional presence.

What are the key efforts and initiatives undertaken by center3 to improve its performance financially?

We adhere to the triple bottom line approach to capture value, focusing on economic, environmental, and social aspects. Economically, our efforts extend beyond center3 to benefit the overall economy of the country, contributing to Saudi Arabia's diversification goals by attracting hyperscalers and content providers. Environmentally, we prioritize sustainability, with initiatives like utilizing 6 megawatts of solar energy for non-critical loads in our data centers and by implementing various other sustainability projects. Lastly, we are committed to social responsibility, fostering talent development through programs such as a talent incubation program and a specialist development program (SDP).

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