Vodafone today addressed the audience of SAMENA Council’s Beyond Connectivity 2015 Summit on the digital agenda, the rise of spectrum needs, and international regulations on roaming. Vodafone joined telecom operators and technology providers from around the South Asia, Middle East and North Africa region gathered in Doha today along with ICT policymakers to discuss the evolving digital landscape and the challenges and opportunities it presents. The summit was held at the Ritz Carlton under the theme “Meeting the Digital Agenda: “Maximizing Telcos’ Revenues through Harmonized Excellence”.
Giving one of the opening keynote speeches, Mohammed Al Yami, Chief External Affairs Officer, said: “On behalf of Vodafone Qatar, I would like to thank SAMENA Council for the opportunity to be amongst our peers from across the region and to be part of this prestigious event, Beyond Connectivity, which is a great industry platform that has sparked countless interesting debates, thoughts and recommendations. Over the past 6 years, Vodafone’s role was and remains as one of the key enablers of the digital agenda of the country backed by our steadfast commitment to continuously invest in the development of the sector. However, our nation and region’s digital ambitions cannot be achieved unless we all work together towards the common goals for the benefits of our industry, our customers and our stakeholders.”
Discussing the challenges, benefits and measures of success of a digital agenda, Simone Eliantonio, said: “Digital agenda means understanding what digital can do for a society. If we enlarge this definition to the whole country, achieving the digital agenda for Qatar means applying the digital tools and technologies to improve the quality of life for all the citizens, both from a personal and a professional perspective. Measures of success include citizen experience, SME competitiveness and innovation levels. Some of the challenges could relate to scale and size of the market; the needed investments and privacy and security. However the benefits are plenty. It's obvious how digital economy has allowed companies like Facebook and Google to exist. But digital solutions can also help non-digital companies to radically change their business model. At Vodafone we believe that digital transformation is a huge opportunity for the country to enable a better "citizen experience" and a huge opportunity to create companies of any industry that will easily export their products and services.”
When looking into the spectrum needs, Jawad Aslam, Head of Networks at Vodafone Qatar said: “We are seeing a triple digit data growth y-o-y and this is a trend across the market. The spectrum situation in Qatar – being a 2-player market – is probably not as challenging as bigger markets for example in Europe or India but we still expect, in the foreseeable future, the spectrum situation to come under stress. Additional spectrum would be necessary for increased usage while enhancing customer experience. Global or at least regional harmonisation of any future spectrum is important to keep the cost to consumer low and to enable roaming.” On 5G, Aslam said: “There’s a lot of potential on M2M that is still untapped by mobile operators and regardless of the terminology there are two things which will unleash this potential and these are: consistent Quality of Experience and lower latency.”
On International regulations for roaming, Itumeleng Moerane, Senior Regulatory Manager at Vodafone Qatar, said: “consumers are now benefiting from reduced wholesale rates between operators. This is allowing Vodafone to innovate to offer consumers much better value and to let them make the most of our services when travelling.”
Vodafone Qatar hosted delegates later during the day for a Gala dinner at which Julian Kersey, Head of Regulatory at Vodafone Qatar and Bocar A. BA, CEO of SAMENA Council thanked the audience for a wealth of information, views and insights shared on the topics that are now considered some of the most important on the agenda of many ICT players in the region.
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