The Communications & Information Technology Committee (CITC), Saudi Arabia’s regulator, has awarded two MVNO’s licenses to operate in the Kingdom and is about to award a 3rd in the coming weeks. The 3rd license is to be awarded to operate under the umbrella of Zain KSA. After being awarded an MNO license to operate in KSA with a sky rocketing fee of 6.1 billion dollars, Zain KSA started up in the Kingdom on the wrong foot.
Zain KSA targeted ethnic and bottom line of the pyramid segments for the past years of operation, launching a vicious price war; However, Zain now has the opportunity to cut down its losses, alongside gaining more market share in a very wealthy & high ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) market.
This opportunity arises if Zain offloads its mass market & ethnic segments to its MVNO. This will allow Zain KSA to focus, under its new CEO and management, on more lucrative segments & markets:
- High end customers
- Roaming customers (due to its footprint in the GCC & Middle East)
- Mid End professionals
- SME & SOHO segments
- Tap into some of the LCA (Large Corporate Accounts) & government segments
- Push for M2M and cloud products that are underutilized in KSA
With good subscriber base of bottom liners and very aggressive ethnic marketing strategy, Zain KSA already has the buffer to relaunch itself. Add to that, Zain’s (KSA) excellent strong mobile data capacity (4G network) throughout its coverage areas (Does not cover a lot of areas in KSA). Another good trait that Zain KSA can benefit from is its partnership with Vodafone & its GCC & Middle Eastern networks for roaming (used a lot by middle & high end Saudi customers).
Zain KSA has been absent from the enterprise market in KSA, leaving this multi-billion riyals market for the two other MNO’s: Mobily & STC. While both MNO’s are focusing more on verticals & LCA’s, little attention is given to the equally lucrative segments of SME’s & SOHO’s.
The Saudi market has not yet tapped into a big segment of its enterprise segment. The SME’s (Small & Medium Enterprise) or SMB’s (Small & Medium Business) are poorly penetrated or neglected due to the effort needed to be put into such segment. Still, it is a segment worth billions of riyals in terms of telecom revenue due to the amount of small or medium companies in KSA.
The race for M2M & cloud is starting up in Saudi Arabia and Mobily is leading the way through a newly derived division handling partnerships very actively. Zain KSA can benefit from these virgin fields and startup an early race towards dominating these fields, especially in financial & medical uses.
Zain’s (KSA) opportunity rises to rectify the strategy with the new MVNO license. Would it grab this opportunity? Time will tell!