CALLING ALL OPERATORS

Qatar 2020 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

Vodafone is fully committed to bringing world-class infrastructure to Qatar and putting the country at the forefront of the digital transformation.

Sheikh Hamad Abdulla Jassim Al-Thani
BIOGRAPHY

Prior to assuming the role of CEO at Vodafone Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Abdulla Jassim Al-Thani served as Vodafone Qatar's COO. During his tenure as COO, he focused on ensuring that the company provided its customers with the best services through successful execution of a number of projects and programs. 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. It is within these roles that his direction resulted in the substantial growth of Vodafone Qatar's share of the enterprise market, as did the company's position as a central ICT service provider.

What have been Vodafone's main areas of focus in the last few years, and what have been its main milestones and projects?
We have achieved major strides in the last few years in terms of strengthening our core business as a fully converged telecommunications company. Our investments in building world-class infrastructure to deliver the best possible experience to our customers—more than QAR1 billion over the past two years—has gone toward the deployment of our fixed access network, IPTV, Narrowband-Internet of Things (NB-IoT), and 5G. To emphasize our promise of delivering a world-class experience, we rebranded our network to GigaNet and launched our successful GigaHome and GigaBusiness broadband services along with GigaTV, our premium entertainment service. Our customer-centric approach in revamping our product portfolio saw us move toward a simplified set of unlimited data plans. We also revamped our IT stack, which supports a greater number of integrations. These investments have enabled us to diversify our revenue mix, and our strategic focus is yielding strong results despite adverse trends affecting the industry. We are progressively realizing our commitment to bring world-class infrastructure to the country and contribute to the Qatar National Vision 2030.

What is the level of innovation that Vodafone brings to Qatar when it comes to 5G?
We have invested heavily in delivering the state-of-the-art communications infrastructure needed to unlock the full potential of 5G. Our 5G GigaNet network, in just over a year since its launch, covers 70% of Doha and is continuously expanding. Our extensive 5G network rollout across Qatar enables this revolutionary technology to drive newer technologies such as AI, virtual and augmented reality, and automation for innovation in all sectors. These breakthroughs will fundamentally transform the way people in Qatar live, work, and stay entertained. Our vision for a Giga Society powered by 5G technology is one that will cement Qatar's position as one of the most digitally connected countries in the world. The accelerated journey toward adoption of 5G-enabled technologies will also position Qatar as a global industry leader. We demonstrated some of those technologies, such as AI, connected driverless vehicles, VR/AR, and connected, in our Giga Society model city during QITCOM 2019, the largest information and communications showcase in Qatar.

What is the role of Vodafone in transforming Qatar into one of the most advanced smart cities?
Deploying 5G technology for smart cities will propel Qatar's progress toward delivering the smart city transformation underway in Lusail City and Msheireb Downtown Doha. We are pioneering digital innovation that delivers these smart solutions and contributes to Qatar's vision of the knowledge economy by 2030. Our expanding 5G technology provides intelligent platforms and connectivity solutions to leverage 5G-enabled technologies such as IoT. Our NB-IoT network, launched nationwide in 2019, will propel companies to consider connecting things that would not have been viable with existing technologies. NB-IoT solutions targeted for smart city applications enables city owners to optimize their resources, increase their efficiency, and manage their operations through a variety of different applications like smart waste management, smart parking, and smart lighting, among others. We consider ourselves partners in Qatar's smart city evolution, and these advancements have already put Qatar at the forefront of the digital transformation.

What are your main goals for 2020?
We will continue focusing around four key pillars: strengthening and growing our core business, finding ways to simplify the way we work and the products we build, partnering with leading local and international brands as well as digital-native companies and bringing to market our own digital services and solutions, and continuing to generate long-term value in a responsible manner for our shareholders. These pillars will accelerate Vodafone Qatar's future development as an industry leader.