Category Archives: Technology

Thoughts on Cloud Computing

cloudOver 10 years ago, while I was still in Africa & we planned for rolling out remote backup, email & domain hosting, platform management, in addition to some other services. Later on, in MTN, such services were flagship projects that were being promoted internally, waiting for the right time to launch. Later on, working with STC, domain & email hosting, managed router service, and some other services have been operational for sometime. Although in both cases, these services did not pick up once launched, two years ago the hype around the cloud boosted their sales up.

The cloud has been there and been provided in different companies for a very long time. Blackberry has provided email services & email push for sometime. The cloud services have been around since the early 2000’s but have not picked up sales and rollout as expected.

Some of the reasons for slow penetration in the market is due to the security threats, lack of trust, high CAPEX to roll out, quality of service, in addition to some other reasons. Customers on one end are hesitant to buy cloud services while providers are promoting or commoditizing these products and services the right way to entice these customers. Some companies have even pushed commission on cloud sales 5 times more than their traditional products.

Mobile cloud sales (mobile apps that store & process data at a datacenter) are the best model of successful cloud services; however, most of these are consumer cloud services rather than enterprise cloud services. The cloud has been intended for the enterprise though!

The billion dollars question is: how to promote the cloud?

To do so, companies need to look at what the customers need, want, & are looking for and try to look at things from a customer’s point of view. Only then would the cloud fly high and become the center of all computing.

You are a Threat to Your Mobile Data!

So you think your mobile is safe and that you are protected by your antivirus! Well, your mobile is safe until you give the permission to share your data. Upon installing applications like TrueCaller, you give the application access to your address book. Thus the application uploads all your contact cards and stores your address book into the company’s server.

So all your contacts are shared. All your family contacts are shared. All your friends contacts are shared. All you business contacts are shared. What happens to this data?! This is shared with millions of people around the world without the consent of your contacts (family, friends, business contacts, acquaintances).

Most probably this data will become the biggest centralized contact data storage in the world (always updated). Truecaller might sell premium services to customers who are willing to pay for such data.

So in other words, YOU are a big threat to your data by giving such applications access to your info and data.

Zain KSA’s Opportunity With The Intro of The New MVNO

Zain KSA new logo

Zain KSA new logo

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!