Ooredoo is set to take its network transformation strategy to the next level, using network sharing to help maximise the impact of its modernisation programme.
Across a diverse range of markets, the company is investing in data services as a key part of its contribution to human growth and development. Mobile data is at the heart of Ooredoo’s long-term vision, and became the single largest contributor to Ooredoo’s revenue growth in 2013.
Dr. Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo, said: “Ooredoo has a long-term vision of being the leader in data market share across our footprint. By enhancing networks, providing new services and data packages, and making smartphones available for all, we can transform daily lives, boost knowledge-based economies, and make a positive impact on GDP.”
As Ooredoo seeks to become a global leader in network quality, modernisation, and development, the company is supporting an open approach to network sharing. Open network sharing anticipates new customer demands and competitive threats, while sharing the investment risk in re-working legacy networks, and negotiating with non-traditional communications players.
In Ooredoo’s newest market of Myanmar, Ooredoo Myanmar is in active discussions with a range of industry players to share as much passive infrastructure in the country as possible, including towers and fibre. By sharing passive infrastructure with other operators, Ooredoo aims to drive significant cost efficiencies, on a scale that has not been achieved before in a “green-field” rollout.
Network-sharing is seen as a key issue for the communications industry, as companies split the costs of developing and operating key infrastructure. The potential savings – which are made on both operational expenses such as site rent and network staffing and capital spending such as equipment costs – can enable companies to upgrade networks faster and across a larger area.
Rolling-out 4G networks across itsfootprint presents an ideal opportunity for Ooredoo to effectively deploy network sharing.Ooredoo has taken the lead in providing 4G networks in Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, and the Maldives, and Ooredoo plans to bring 4G to additional markets in the coming months. At the same time, Ooredoo has been “turbocharging” its 3G networks to 3G+ across the board, using the U900 MHz frequency to enhance network speeds and coverage, especially indoors.
Nawras, Ooredoo’s company in Oman, is rolling-out 4G coverage across the country, and has invested OAR 80 million in its countrywide 3G+ turbocharging programme since 2012. Nawrashas tripled 3G+ capacity on the Al Batinah coastline, and is planning to cover the entire population with 3G+ by the end of 2014, while also implementing its “Go Green” environmentally-friendly guidelines.
Wataniya, Ooredoo’s company in Kuwait, recently completed a network modernisation programme worth USD 400 million (KWD 113 million). The company now has one of the best 3G network data rates in the world, and supports the rapid expansion of 4G, according to a report by Omnitele, the consulting company, Wataniya Kuwait completely rebuilt the network, and has seen data utilisation jump by more than 20 percent.
Ooredoo Algeria recently launched Algeria’s first-ever commercial 3G network, delivering Algeria’s fastest and most reliable Mobile Broadband service ever offered in the country.
Beyond the Middle East and North Africa, Indosat in Indonesia became the country’s first telecommunications operator to commercially operate 3G+ on the UMTS 900MHz network, and has also prepared its network for future 4G services.
Ooredoo’s efforts in this area have been boosted by the signing of anMoUon infrastructure sharing with a number of other major operators, including Bharti Airtel, MTN Group, Etisalat, STC Group, Orange, Vodafone Group and Zain Group. The agreement was reached following a major meeting at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in February.
For Ooredoo, this agreement has the potential to enhance the company’s rollout of Mobile Broadband across its footprint in the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia, reducing expenditure, expanding network coverage, driving sustainability, and supporting the launch of innovative mobile services.