What are the strategies for both mobile and fixed in terms of growing market share in the future?
Ian Dench We want to enrich people's digital lives so that they can enjoy the internet. We use that focus to improve three key areas: B2B, mobile, and fixed. Within each of those areas, we seek to create the right, most targeted data plans, promotions, packs, and offerings for different customers. Our New Shababiah is exclusively available through our app and is the first of its kind in Oman. Customers can build their own plan by picking the data and minutes they want and completing all the necessary transactions to activate them through the app, in addition to much more. In terms of our B2B campaign, “Be Digital," we seek to tell customers we understand what it takes to go through a digital transformation. There are many implications for businesses when they go digital, though the key focus for us is availability of the network and connectivity.
What factors are behind your growth?
Raed Haddadin Renna launched in 2009; however, its real start was in 2013, when new investors came in. At that time, Renna had 40,000 subscribers, and by 2016 we had reached almost 600,000. We focused on a certain segment, the low end of the market, and placed all our resources into it. We focused all our marketing and advertising on those products and services for our specific segment. In turn, our awareness within our target segment grew from 50% to almost 98%. This is typical of what mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) do. Now, with a penetration rate of more than 150% across all operators, we want to maintain our customer base, and 600,000 for us is a great figure, which is around 10% of market share. There will definitely be more growth, and we are growing slightly, though not similar to the previous three or four years. The main focus now is not to grow; instead, we want to give our customers the best service possible.
How do you segment and target certain markets?
ID When it comes to designing a product, it will be more about one's usage behavior. We segment for communications, product design, spend, and more. Product design is primarily around people's data usage. Some want flexibility and others want prepaid or postpaid. In our New Shababiah digital service, we gave customers the option to build their own plan so they can pick the data and minutes that are right for them rather than us delivering a fixed package. It is all around data usage, which currently drives our smartphone usage.
RH Our target segment includes many different nationalities speaking different languages. We started advertising in six languages: Arabic, English, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, and Malayalam. In terms of retail, larger mobile operators typically usually go to malls and have fancy stores, whereas our customers might not feel comfortable buying a SIM card there. Our strategy in the last three to four years was to go into dealer shops where they speak our customer's language and might be more welcoming. We went to those channels and conducted research to understand exactly how they speak, what they like, and where they go. For example, many of our customers only have Friday off, so we started to give them special offers on Fridays.
What are the benefits to having MVNOs in a market?
ID MVNOs have brought more competition, and they focus on the lower-end customers in the market. They have their own innovations and are increasingly looking at voice plans, which are all about data. Their entry results in greater competition, which drives us to work harder to compete.
RH MVNOs come to a market to play the role of an additional mobile operator instead of a third or fourth operator that builds its own network. Instead of being a network ourselves, we connect to Omantel, which gives Omantel an opportunity and additional income to invest more in its network because there are more customers. For us, the primary benefit is that we do not need to spend large sums of money on building a network.