We caught up with Vodafone Qatar’s Chief Operating Officer, Diego Camberos, who gave us an update about the company, its journey towards becoming a converged digital provider and the role of digital transformation in achieving Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
- Firstly, Vodafone Qatar recently announced that it has made a profit for the first time since it started operating in Qatar. Please can you tell us more about this achievement? What steps have you taken to deliver this?
Yes, we are very proud to show our first quarter of positive profit since we started operations in Qatar. We have been focused on improving many fronts in the business-like propositions we launch in the market, strength our distribution network, better customer care, world class network performance, etc Our focus on the right segments with the right services and products have helped us gain traction in the market posting a growth of 3% from previous year improving our profitability.
Additionally, we have recently made a number of announcements including structural changes and the extension of our mobile telecommunication license by an additional 40 years to 2068, resulting in an amortization benefit of QR80mn per quarter.
At the core of it, our investment in bringing innovative plans, world-class customer service and a state-of-the-art network to Qatar have all resulted in an increased customer satisfaction.
- Digital transformation is a key focus for the country. What are you doing to help achieve that?
We are more than just a telecommunications company; digital innovation is at the core of what we do. We’re committed to harnessing the power of technology to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to optimise, automate and innovate. Amongst the many ways we do this includes, firstly, by leveraging the extensive expertise of our international peers, be it in fixed, mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud solutions, big data or even analytics to bring world-class pioneering solutions to Qatar.
The World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Competitiveness Report placed Qatar as the Arab world’s most innovative country. This is the result of a well-thought out strategy guided by the Qatar National Vision 2030 and as a Qatari company we see our responsibility to be part of this strategy and be an active player.
- Digital transformation affects individuals and businesses, and it relies on the telecommunications industry. How is Vodafone Qatar part of this development? And what services do you offer to support this transformation?
Digital transformation starts with a world class network that delivers a supreme experience, and this is exactly what we are offering to our customer today. A great experience with the latest technology and soon moving to 5G.
IoT is also revolutionizing our lives and the next decade will see an acceleration of this transformation. I truly believe that historians will one day look back on this time and highlight how this era has shaped the trajectory of the future.
Vodafone is at the heart of this development in Qatar. For example, in 2017, we announced the launch of a partnership with Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC) to provide Fleet Management service, a telematics service designed to track and perform logistics management for companies aiming to enhance productivity and tackle road safety issues.
Elsewhere we’re talking to businesses in various sectors such as health where smart medical solutions offer remote monitoring capabilities, allowing healthcare providers to easily access patient data and deliver high-quality care to a larger number of patients, all the while reducing hospitalization costs.
These are but a few examples of the impact that digital innovation can deliver. We are in ongoing dialogue with relevant authorities as to how our IoT solutions can support the development of Qatar’s emerging smart cities and help it offer a better tomorrow to its people.
- How many customers does Vodafone have (individuals and/or companies). What is the annual growth rate in terms of your customers?
Up to now we have 1.4 mm customers and growing.
- What makes Vodafone different versus its competitors?
We truly believe that as Vodafone we have the best combination possible to be a successful business. A very strong global brand that leads in the technology world on many fronts and a very strong local roots that made us better understand the need of the market to serve it better.
This combination is translated in the service we provide every day, the experience of our world class network and the way our teams work. We have a highly talented team of professionals in different fields with extensive experience that make a big difference at the hour to design new products or services or new experiences for our customers. People constantly changing the rules of the game, being the first in the market to launch services like Bill Manager, Flex, Red, Roam like Home, worry free Global Data, etc
- What would you say are the key strengths that you draw on to increase your market share?
It is not one thing but it is a combination of different things that will make us continue our growth. Being able to leverage the expertise of our global brand will be important. The always improving world class (5G ready) network is key. A motivated team that understand the market and can translate ideas in innovations will be maintained.
The combinations, of our brand, our people and our investment will make us keep getting better and growing.
- We have heard a lot of complaints about your network – how do you deal with that?
We take the feedback that our customers give us very seriously. Our team is committed to delivering the highest level of service. We have recently launched an awareness campaign – #Talk2Us – which highlights several key commitments including a promise to answer all customer calls within 20 seconds and to resolve issues from the first call.
But any dissatisfaction you’re referring to is historic and we don’t believe it reflects our customers’ experiences today.
We have been rolling out a comprehensive network modernization programme guided by a QR 1bn investment. Today, our customers are experiencing enhanced data speeds that can reach up to 700Mbps which allows for seamless online streaming and superfast downloads of movies and games.
Additionally, we installed more than 150 indoor sites to 4G for a superb network experience in malls and other commercial building. All of this is set to prepare us for the launch of 5G services by the end of the year, making Qatar one of the most connected countries in the world.
What is clear is the lengths that we are going to in our commitment to support Qatar’s existing and future network needs and connecting people and businesses to the things that matter.
- What’s your take on the telecommunications sector in Qatar? Especially after the growth in digital services and technologies in the past few years? How has the industry changed?
We live in incredibly exciting times. The proliferation and acceleration of technology promises digital transformation on a mass-scale, bringing with it the potential to positively transform how we live, work and interact with our surroundings and society at large. Qatar in specific has been working hard on creating a favorable environment to encourage science and innovation.
This type of environment provides businesses with new opportunities to scale their operations and create value. Today, telecommunication is at the core of the infrastructural development of Qatar, there is an increased focus on enhancing the fixed line sector and at Vodafone Qatar, we are at the heart of this growth. Just recently, we announced the rolling out of fiber connectivity in New Salata and the Industrial Area, capable of handling speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (1Gbps). This follows other major announcements and new deals we have signed to develop fixed line infrastructure around the country including The Pearl Qatar and Lusail City.
- Please tell us about your summer/holiday offers?
Our Passport Pack which allows customers to enjoy 1GB of data and 100 minutes of roaming calls for only QR100 per week has been expanded to include Russia, allowing thousands of Vodafone Qatar customers travelling to see the World Cup to capture their once in a lifetime experience. It is actually Qatar’s widest reaching Passport Pack, covering over 80 countries.
- Personally, what do you hope to achieve with Vodafone Qatar? What is your personal vision for the company?
Personally I am grateful to be part of such a talented team of professionals that have big ambitions in respect of what we want to do.
The Digital journey that is highly imbedded in the country makes Qatar a perfect place to be part of a team with big ambitions on this area.
I see Vodafone as the best Digital transformation company in the region. We certainly have the ambition, brand and network to make it a reality.
- Do you have a final word for our readers?
Just a big thank you to all the people that are using our services every day and help us to keep growing and improve. Our teams work day and night to ensure you all have a world class experience!
We have big plans and we want all of you to be part of them. Our Digital Journey has started, hopefully all of you will be part of it!