The Business Year

Imad M. Tarabay

Chairman, Cedarcom

We are putting in a whole ecosystem around us, from the internet exchange to many other services. We are opening up a box that we did not have access to, which is fiber. The installation of fiber optics is part of the 2020 strategy. The Minister of Telecommunications ultimately decided to hand out the license for the project to all companies, including Cedarcom, and the project is ongoing. The purpose of this is to provide fiber optic cables to homes or businesses. Putting in fiber is expensive; however, its benefits and longevity are clear. Today in Lebanon over half of the internet is serviced by illegal providers. They bypass the infrastructure of the government, as well as those of data providers. Typically in our business, we give 20% of revenues to the government, so consumers avoid coming to formal, legal providers because our costs will be higher. Even though the government knows who these providers are, it cannot shut them down because this will affect half the country. It has to find a replacement, and then push those people to migrate their businesses from the illegal distribution mechanism to a legal one. It is not a quick process. We hope that within a year things will change dramatically and that the implementation of fiber will remove the incentive for bypassing quality providers.

Toni Azzi

Regional Manager, Logicom

In terms of percentage of sales, Lebanon is a small country for Logicom’s operations. However, Lebanon has always been a good pilot for different projects. This includes launching new products, developing new channels, and evaluating new and existing business opportunities. We are a strategic office for the group. Last year, we launched our Marketplace, which is on the cloud and where we offer a special software tool as a marketplace for Lebanese software companies. It is a place where they can put their products and offerings on the cloud, and be able to sell and export their products to any part of the world. Logicom will be offering on its cloud marketplace different solutions including Microsoft, IBM cloud, Veeam, and so on. We are also looking to partner and appoint different independent software providers and vendors that are local, offering them this platform to promote and sell their software through Logicom cloud. We are supporting the economy, the country, and the local players in order to take their solutions and products outside of Lebanon and available for export. There are many software companies in Lebanon with their own in-house software that they are selling. Logicom Marketplace will allow them to sell across more than 22 countries.

Elie Abou Semaan

General Manager Levant, Elie Abou Semaan

We are playing the role of a real value-added distributor and have a good position in the Levant market in addition to our good and hardworking team that allowed us to be stable and achieve our targets, despite all the challenges. We have made substantial investments to develop an automated cloud marketplace. We have our own marketplace, and we are a cloud service provider for Microsoft. All the vendors are pushing toward the cloud, and the cloud concept is beginning to be accepted by the market. It is going to take some time to mature, but the process has started. We think this is going to represent a good chunk of our business in 2017. The main goal is definitely to achieve the numbers and grow our business by 15% through our new business units in the cloud and cyber security. Currently, we are enabling our partners, creating awareness, and explaining the benefits for companies of using cloud services. We are also building up confidence in the market because it is important that companies trust this concept. Therefore we need the proper infrastructure: bandwidths and internet services to be in place and uninterrupted, problem-free access to the cloud at any time.



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