The Ooredoo Tower in Doha, Qatar
Writer: Aziz Aluthman Fakhroo, Group Running Director, Ooredoo
July 7, 2021
Certainly, the world financial challenges induced by the onset of COVID-19 created an solely unparalleled circumstance for the telecommunications sector. Motion limitations, phenomenal will increase in desire for knowledge and connectivity and unavoidable money constraints irrevocably altered the landscape, and gamers had been pressured to occur up with at any time more artistic strategies in which to control their functions and continue to execute for both equally their consumers and their firms. This was no distinctive in our marketplaces.
At Ooredoo, strategic investments and arranging in the many years preceding the pandemic meant our networks could cope with the enormous enhance in desire for data, and the need for speedy, trustworthy networks to assist the communities exactly where we run and retain economies working.
Our response to the pandemic scenario and our robust technique enabled Ooredoo to report strong operational and financial overall performance. Evidence of our resilience is noticed in the new successful pricing of our $1bn bond issuance, reflecting investors’ self-confidence in the power and security of our stability sheet as properly as our approach to provide new and impressive answers to our buyers by leveraging globe-course technology and infrastructure.
Our buyers share this confidence – we elevated our customer foundation by 3 per cent to 121 million across our worldwide footprint in 2020 – as do worldwide benchmarking consultancies, with Brand name Finance naming Ooredoo a Major 40 Telecom Brand name in 2021.
Response to the pandemic
Thanks to our well balanced portfolio of assets and distinct concentration on electronic products and services, we have been ready to mitigate the detrimental impression of the pandemic and keep balance. We managed to preserve our operations resilient and deliver a sound performance throughout 2020, through the peak of the pandemic and with the resulting economic turbulence spreading throughout the globe. Moving into the first quarter of 2021, Ooredoo Group continued to supply a strong established of benefits inspite of continuing difficult market place circumstances.
The company remained targeted on its digital transformation agenda, which has enabled us to make value for our shoppers by giving a seamless and effortless person working experience, and to optimise our cost base by streamlining and automating processes. Therefore, our EBITDA margin improved to 45 p.c in Q1 2021 compared to 41 % for the similar period last 12 months. A record of investing greatly in network growth and expansion paid off when we located ourselves ready and capable to hit the ground running as shortly as the scale and effects of the pandemic grew to become obvious.
Engineers labored all-around the clock to enhance networks in which necessary, and guarantee the reliability of our networks for the tens of millions of online video phone calls taking area every single minute all-around the globe, and networks had been optimised to guarantee instructional establishments could continue on to deliver lessons to the many students mastering at house.
Even entertainment was not missed. Systems were being boosted to handle the amplified demand for on-line gaming, with ping moments shortened to ensure optimum gaming encounters, and added channels have been additional to Tv set packages. From an functions viewpoint, we promptly rolled out a doing the job-from-home protocol to ensure continuity of provider for our shoppers. In just a issue of hours of lockdowns becoming declared, our workforces from all parts of operations such as head workplaces and simply call centres were properly and properly shifted to doing the job from home. Our engineers and IT guidance groups managed this change phenomenally, guaranteeing personnel could go on to help clients in flip.
Initiatives to support communities
Ooredoo Qatar was recognised by an IPSOS poll as a person of the top 10 providers in the nation for its reaction to the pandemic, recognition that was mirrored throughout many of our functioning corporations. Our programmes of support for the communities in which we operate across our world wide footprint have been in depth, which includes distribution of essentials this sort of as masks and sanitisers, mass recognition campaigns via social media, leaflets and other implies of interaction and sanitisation of places determined as especially difficult-hit by the virus.
Also, they included monetary contributions to different help initiatives and governments, and free facts and minutes for frontline and vital personnel as well as much more susceptible users of the group. From a company point of view, we rolled out a detailed programme of steps to enable communities adapt to the condition a lot quicker speeds, totally free minutes, absolutely free academic leisure and free money transfers.
We shifted the target of our CSR technique to aid a broad wide variety of initiatives throughout all of our running businesses, aimed at assisting communities control, and recuperate from, the pandemic circumstance. We also signed main partnerships with information companies – Netflix, Disney+, Apple Tv set – to greatly enhance household entertainment solutions and furnished fully electronic mobile activities through Ooredoo applications, this sort of as the Ooredoo Funds app, which delivers a secure and hassle-free way to transfer funds from a cell phone.
Foreseeable future programs
We have a clear, comprehensive tactic to consider the Ooredoo Group to the next amount in the coming many years. This approach will continue to be the identical as we transfer into the article-pandemic ‘new normal’ and the at any time far more digital age.
We are generating it a lot easier for our prospects to locate, get and use our products and solutions and solutions on-line so that we can bring in and retain consumers at a lessen charge, driving value to our shareholders. We will develop major digital services and investigate new, previously unaddressed places to travel prime-line advancement, and put into action digitalisation across the full Ooredoo Group to be extra efficient and agile. 5G and its myriad use scenarios will keep on being a important driver of our ongoing accomplishment as we undertake the most up-to-date technologies and continue our 5G rollout across our electronic footprint. Further than digital, our strategy rests on a few much more pillars core, infrastructure and portfolio.
We managed to continue to keep our operations resilient and deliver a strong efficiency during 2020
We will continue to accelerate the effectiveness of our core small business, investing in persons, our networks and our providers, to earn in the marketplace and maximise return on our assets. We have just lately built quite a few new appointments to our C-suite, which include numerous feminine leaders. We go on to work tirelessly to make certain our organisational culture permits a additional revolutionary doing work setting, and we will go on to recruit, educate and acquire the next technology of talent from within the marketplaces in which we work.
We will get the job done to be far more efficient, flexible and asset-mild, extracting best benefit from our infrastructure through network sharing and infrastructure bargains. An instance of this is our modern signing of a sale and leaseback arrangement for more than 4,200 telecommunications towers in Indonesia, valued at somewhere around $750m. We assume this transaction to near in Q2.
More than the very last few decades we built a sturdy drive to enhance our customers’ journeys and activities by digitising our main and leveraging analytics to personalise the client knowledge and offerings, the two on line and offline. In our residence state, Qatar, a nationwide plan – Qatar National Vision 2030 – contains a purpose of complete digitalisation, with the country aiming to be the world’s first genuinely smart country.
This digitalisation encompasses every facet of our operations, from customer support to back-conclude help and logistics. We want to allow our customers to be capable to interact with us digitally in the way that greatest satisfies them. Appropriately, we are continuing to make investments significantly in boosting our digital consumer encounter not just in Qatar but across the Ooredoo Team and its operating corporations.
Concentration on 5G
As knowledge sector leaders, facts now constitutes about 50 per cent of revenue, so we anticipate a continued focus on 5G, enabling prospects to obtain our unbelievable 5G networks that we continue to roll out across the Ooredoo Group global footprint. To date, Ooredoo has upgraded more than 90 p.c of outdoor macro web-sites with 5G in Qatar, masking in excess of 90 percent of the populace. We have also released 5G networks in Kuwait, Oman and the Maldives, and are also making ready to implement 5G in Indonesia, where by we have presently trialled a amount of 5G use situations.
We are also enabling and growing investments in the Internet of Matters and artificial intelligence by means of our 5G networks, which provide the ultra-superior speeds and extremely lower latency required for such connections and enhancements. Our remarkable 5G network and its myriad use circumstances will continue being a crucial driver of the company’s ongoing good results as we undertake the most recent technologies, and we will thus go on to strengthen our partnerships with the world’s foremost technology companies, to additional consolidate our presenting to our customers.
We think that this will let us to provide on our eyesight to enrich people’s electronic life, and carry the added benefits of the newest engineering to our customers throughout our large and numerous world wide footprint.