Jul. 12, 2021

Sheikh Hamad Abdulla Al-Thani


Sheikh Hamad Abdulla Al-Thani

CEO, Vodafone Qatar

Vodafone works with companies large and small to provide the most advanced ICT services to support their growth and drive Qatar's digital transformation.


Prior to assuming the role of CEO at Vodafone Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Abdulla Al-Thani served as Vodafone Qatar's COO, where he was responsible for the company's customer operations, human resources, legal and regulatory, and external affairs functions. Since joining Vodafone Qatar in 2013, he has served in several roles including senior business development manager, head of public sector sales, and sales director. Prior to joining Vodafone Qatar, Sheikh Hamad served in the oil and gas sector, where he operated in various areas such as industrial network engineering and control system engineering.

How has Vodafone Qatar contributed to the digital and knowledge-based economy targets of 2030 Qatar National Vision?

Like many companies around the world, Vodafone Qatar had to continue to deliver critical national digital infrastructure to keep families connected, enable businesses to operate, students to learn, health care to be delivered, and governments to provide critical services during COVID-19. To meet the evolving needs of our customers, both consumers and enterprises alike, we accelerated a number of digital transformation initiatives and our underlying connectivity infrastructure as part of our long-term vision in Qatar to pioneer digital innovation and to be people's first choice in telecom and digital services. An example of some of the initiatives that came to market in 2020 is our nationwide Narrowband Internet of Things network (NB-IoT) and our IoT Platform that power a number of IoT use cases to support current national priorities to make our cities smarter and fit for the future. Vodafone Qatar has undertaken to support the digital and knowledge-based economic targets of the 2030 Qatar National Vision in two ways: a smart metering deployment with Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) that will see the digitalization of Qatar's utilities industry, with smart meters powered by IoT rolled out nationwide; and the implementation of Vodafone's big data and advanced analytics solution and subsequent MoU with Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) that will accelerate the country's goal of being a world-class tourist destination through the use of data, advanced analytics, and a layer of AI.

What is your expansion strategy for your 5G GigaNet Network in the medium term?

Our 5G GigaNet now covers more than 70% of the country's population and has been deployed across key locations including HIA, several of the FIFA 2022 venues, and prime leisure areas such as Katara and Souq Waqif just to mention a couple. In the medium term, we will continue our investment in 5G technology and facilitate the next wave of innovation. This emerging technology will certainly support Qatar in its ambition to lead in digital transformation and position Qatar as one of the most digitally advanced countries in the world.

What are the main challenges to bring Qatar digital agenda forward?

A number of both SMEs and start-ups focused on verticals such as IoT, fintech, e-commerce, and cybersecurity have started to emerge in Qatar. We are focused on working with such companies either through establishing strategic partnerships that enable us to orchestrate our core services with their solutions or by providing them with the most advanced information and communication technology services to support their growth.

What is Vodafone Qatar's partnership strategy to increase the reach of your solutions in Qatar?

Any great partnership starts with a strong understanding of the complex challenges our customers face today and by working closely with them to tailor our core services and solutions to their unique needs. The investments we made to buildout our nationwide NB- IoT and launch our IoT Platform stem specifically from an understanding of our customers' complex challenges, testing a number of use cases and then subsequently developing specific technology solutions for these partners.

What are the main challenges from a technology perspective to organize an event with the dimensions of 2022 FIFA World Cup?

Given its ultra-fast speed and low latency, Vodafone's 5G will open up a new set of entertainment options related directly to the 2022 FIFA World Cup experience. Broadcasters can use its capabilities to offer exciting live viewing experiences, while fan engagement can become more interactive and immersive with virtual and augmented reality. On the event management and logistics side, 5G will have a transformative effect on how industries operate and engage guests by introducing automation in key services such as transport, crowd safety and stadium operations.