Zain and Huawei unveil first of its kind joint innovation center in Middle East

June 9, 2014 2:36 pm

Zain, the leading telecommunications company in Kuwait, and Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, have inaugurated a first-of-its-kind Joint Innovation Center in the Middle East, to serve as a research hub from which Zain will be able to further advance its mobile broadband network, services, and applications offered to customers in Kuwait and across the region.

The announcement was made during a launch ceremony attended by top executives from both organizations including Scott Gegenheimer, Zain Group CEO, Omar Al Omar, Zain Kuwait CEO, Alex Zhang, Board Member & President of Carrier Software Business of Huawei, and James Wu, President of Carrier Business Group, Huawei Middle East.

Commenting on the milestone, Scott Gegenheimer, said, “Over the years Zain has remained at the forefront of mobile broadband innovation partnering with leaders in the ICT field to push the boundaries of what is possible for our customers. Both Zain and Huawei enjoy a history of heightened customer satisfaction generated by successful research and development efforts. Through the new Joint Innovation Center, our mobile customers can look forward to even better, faster, and more seamless communication experiences.”

The two companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last year, in which they outlined their ambitions for the creation of a joint innovation center and have since invested in the construction of the facilities, bringing together an elite team of global experts, engineers, and others to lead the center’s development.

Commenting on the latest collaboration between the two partners, Omar Al Omar, said, “through the Joint Innovation Center, we aim at creating synergy between Huawei’s latest ICT developments and Zain’s strategies to better serve our customers and provide them with a superior telecom experience. Though the new center, Zain has a valuable destination to further develop our innovative platforms to better serve our customers, especially with our future plans to develop the LTE technology and related applications.”

Al Omar continued, “The center serves as a vital and dynamic link between Zain’s and Huawei’s Research and Development teams, through the use of several available virtual conferencing technologies. In addition, it will serve as a pioneering research hub to build the latest innovative solutions and technologies to help Zain tap into new markets and provide a superior telecom customer experience.”

“The Joint Innovation Center consists of four main areas: Enterprise, Home, Individual, and Zain Zone. The Enterprise area will provide an excellent destination to the research and development of our corporate customers’ needs, while the Individual area caters to the research and development of our consumer customers’ needs. Additionally, the Home area specializes in the research and development of home automation solutions, specifically the designing of smart home solutions and applications. Our corporate customers are welcome to visit the center and learn about the latest developments and solutions,” Al Omar concluded.

To date Huawei has launched more than 28 joint innovation centers worldwide with telecom operators in addition to 16 global research and development (R&D) centers.

Alex Zhang, Board Member & President of the Carrier Software & Core Network Business Unit, Huawei commented, “Kuwait is an exciting market within the region’s telecom landscape and an inspirational one from the perspective of innovation with a significant geography in which we can contribute to the development of the overall mobile broadband ecosystem.”

Mr. Zhang added, “This latest Joint Innovation Center underscores Huawei’s longstanding strategic partnership with Zain based on a mutual dedication to customer-centric innovation. Through the center’s activities, we can further assure a superior mobile broadband experience designed to exceed all customer expectations.”

During the inauguration, both Zain and Huawei highlighted the role that new research & development (R&D) programs would play in enhancing Zain’s service offerings while helping the operator to realize additional revenues streams. The center includes various sections dedicated to smart consumer technology, new media services for the home, industry-specific ICT solutions, as well as offerings developed for enterprise customers such as telepresence and other virtualization platforms.

Much of the initial work will also serve to test future LTE-compatible services and applications, as well as the development of sophisticated processes that can be used to measure subscribers’ quality of service and allow Zain to perform more robust customer-experience analysis.

In recent years Zain and Huawei have done much in the area of mobile broadband including the launch of the first commercial LTE services in Kuwait in late 2012. Zain’s current nationwide LTE network provides customers in the country with the fastest mobile Internet speeds in the market. Zain and Huawei have since expanded their partnership to include plans to launch a commercial LTE-Advanced network delivering connectivity speeds up to twice the speed currently possible with existing LTE mobile technology.

Globally Huawei has been able to lead on ICT technology developments through investing an average over 10% of its total annual sales revenues into R&D with approximately 45% of its more than 150,000 employees worldwide currently specialized in R&D activities.

The inauguration of the Joint Innovation Center comes shortly after Zain and Huawei entered into an enhanced MoU between them that was signed in China as part of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al Sabah’s recent state visit to the People’s Republic of China to discuss mutual economic developments last week, in which Zain Group Chairman Asaad Ahmad Al-Banwan and Huawei’s Vice President of Middle East Region He Tao were present. The two companies will further extend and enhance their strategic efforts in the fields of telecommunications and information technology as part of this MoU.