DEEPLY-ROOTED AMBITIONS

Qatar 2019 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

The company's vision is to connect today's ideas with the technologies of tomorrow, becoming people's first choice in telecom and digital services, and be a leading contributor to the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Sheikh Hamad bin  Abdulla Jassim Al-Thani
BIOGRAPHY
Sheikh Hamad bin Abdulla Jassim Al-Thani was appointed Vodafone Qatar’s CEO in March 2018. Prior to taking up the role of CEO, he held the role of Vodafone Qatar’s Chief Operating Officer. Since joining Vodafone Qatar in 2013, Al-Thani has served in several roles including senior business development manager, head of public sector sales, and sales director. Under his leadership, Vodafone Qatar’s enterprise market share grew substantially, as did the company’s position as an ICT and mega projects service provider. Before joining Vodafone, he held multiple roles in the oil and gas sector, in the fields of industrial network/cyber, automation, and control system engineering. Al-Thani has a BA in computer science from University of Ottawa, Canada.

What have been the main achievements for Vodafone Qatar during its 10-year presence?

Over these years, Qatar has become one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of both digital adoption, technology infrastructure, and a leader in pioneering innovation. We take pride in our role, built up over the past 10 years and substantiated by the more than QAR8 billion that we have invested to date, and of being at the forefront of the digital era. It's a role that has seen us become a leading partner in providing intelligent platforms and connectivity solutions to the smart cities of the future, our world-class network, our growing broadband footprint, and the ecosystem of digital products and services we have built. Looking to the future, our ambition stretches well beyond what we have already achieved. It is an ambition deeply rooted in our leadership role to help shape the country's economic success and improve lives through pioneering digital innovation.

What is the company's new vision?

Our vision is simple: to connect today's ideas with the technologies of tomorrow by pioneering digital innovation and becoming people's first choice in telecom and digital services. We will continue our strong commitment to pioneer digital innovation in Qatar and be a leading contributor to the Qatar National Vision 2030.

What has been the role of Vodafone in bringing 5G to Qatar?

We were one of the first operators in the world to go live with 5G commercially and the first to have connected customers to 5G in Qatar. We've built strong momentum in building our 5G network across the country since switching it on in August 2017, and we will continue to bring 5G to key locations across the country. 5G will bring a wave of technological advances that will be truly sector agnostic, changing every facet of the way we live and work. From predictive maintenance of elevator systems in a Westbay tower, to intelligent management of traffic flows in smart cities and smart irrigation and fertilization management solution, all will connect via sensor-based 5G communications to the cloud, making it possible to store and analyze huge amounts of real-time data for real-time decision making using AI. At the end of the day, it is difficult to map all of the eventual applications that will be enabled by the underlying 5G technology; however, our commitment to building world-class infrastructure and forming strategic partnerships to leverage the eventual applications that will be enabled by the underlying 5G technology is at the core of our ability to achieve our ambitions.

What will be the impact of eSIM for users?

As the name suggests, eSIM technology replaces the physical, plastic SIM card used by current smartphones. We were the first operator in the region to introduce eSIMs and the 11th worldwide, because we saw the potential in the technology. There are countless use cases for eSIM technology that can be used in conjunction with smart sensors and smart home devices in the future. From provisioning sensors and devices remotely without the burden of having to physically acquire and insert a SIM card to remote management via on the cloud re-programming using artificial intelligence, eSIM technology paves the way for an acceleration in innovation for both consumer and IoT applications.

As Vodafone Qatar becomes a holistic digital provider, which particular solutions can you offer for SMEs?

SMEs are the backbone of any advanced and diversified economy. Supporting small businesses with the most advanced solutions is a major priority, not only for Vodafone but also for Qatar. Our support of the SME segment starts with a strong understanding of the challenges they face today and developing services and solutions to support them and tackle their business challenges. Our solutions are anchored on our understanding of our customers' needs in terms of flexibility, be it connectivity, managed services, or smart solutions.