Kuwait Mobile Operator VIVA

Interview with Najeeb Al Awadi. If you look at the demography of Kuwait it is unique and this  affects the telecom and mobile market in Kuwait. There are locals and expats and this allows us to diversify our services as Kuwait new mobile operator.  Our data services, for example, are unique because VIVA have come up with different data packages that VIVA, Kuwait new Mobile Operator offers. n the end this will benefit both the telecom market in Kuwait and the telecom customer in Kuwait.


What is your overall assessment of the Kuwaiti telecom sector and what are the key opportunities in this market?

We are the third operator in Kuwait and as a third operator and the details of the other two operators in the country were accounted for when we decided to enter the market.  The Kuwaiti telecom market is quite different and also competitive. The penetration was higher than 100% when we started a year ago and we came in aggressively because we felt that initially there was a place for change and a spot for us to enter in the market.  We were successful in doing this and we managed to capture more than 10% of the market- this shows that we planned carefully and captured our target as a third operator in Kuwait.  In the upcoming years we are aiming to increase our market share because the market in Kuwait is lucrative.

Kuwait is one of the few countries that doesn’t have any independent regulatory authority.  How do you view this issue and do you think the market should have an independent regulator?

It is unique for three operators in a market to not have any independent regulatory authority over them.  However, MOC is acting as a regulator in Kuwait, perhaps not like an independent regulatory authority but we are hoping that TRA will exist in Kuwait towards the end of 2010.

According to arabianbusiness.com you have been able to capture 10% of Kuwait’s mobile market.  How does it feel to be the third mobile operator in the market?

When we entered the market we came with change in mind.  A year back we came up with a valuable position in the market because we are the first provide to cancel incoming charges.  This change gave us leverage to lead as the third operator in the market.  We have managed to differentiate ourselves by offering new and innovative services to the market.  The customer is our priority and we focus on satisfying our customers in the market.

The other provides are capable of copying your strategy and offering the same services.  How much space is available to truly make you stand out in the Kuwaiti market?

If you look at the demography of Kuwait it is unique.  There are locals and expats and this allows us to diversify our services as an operator.  Our data services, for example, are unique because we have come up with different data packages that we offer.  I believe that because of the nature of our leave, other operators will strive to try to be like us.  In the end this will benefit both the telecom market in Kuwait and the telecom customer. 

Your target is to capture 30% of the market in ten years.  What is your major challenge?

The major challenge is maintaing our rhythm and momentum to reach our goal of 30%.  Operationally, I believe that we need the right people on board with our company to support our expansion efforts and serve our customers.

What kind of brand identity would you like VIVA to be associated with?

VIVA is life.  We want to exude life all of the time with the youth, Kuwaitis, and expats.

Can you give us a brief overview of your technologies and services for 2010 and beyond?

VIVA came to the market with the latest and best technology on our network.  We use IP to IP network technology and that gives us and edge because we have the best 3g network in all of Kuwait.  Our data services, thus, are superior compared to the other operators.  We need to enhance the capacity of the network to support the speed of our data transmissions and this is where the demand will be for the upcoming years.

What is the global vision for VIVA Kuwait?

Today we are a Kuwaiti company focusing on the local market.  The way forward will be to capture more subscribers in Kuwait in order to serve the local market.  For today, our focus is only going to be on Kuwait.

What kind of message would you like to address to the suppliers of technology for foreign companies?

VIVA is very innovative so any supplier or company around the world that has innovative  services that they would like to share with us are welcome and we would be pleased to work with them.  My team is very open towards new ideas, services, and products.  For example, we recently launched the smallest router in the world and this is an innovative concept as it is pocket sized but can connect up to five users.

Kuwait is a conservative market.  What has been the response of the people in Kuwait to VIVA?

I wouldn’t say Kuwait is a conservative market, I would rather like to say it is unique.  We are in a customer driven market and we like to listen to them and maintain close relationship with them.  We like to do what they want and satisfy customer needs in the Kuwaiti telecom market.  We are simple, we have nice values, we are transparent, and we are fulfilling our customers needs.

Do you think more should be done to make you better able to communicate with these customers or are they aware of the services and products you are providing?

To reach the customers in Kuwait it requires work and we utilize various forms of media in order to do so.  We employ social media, blogs, paper media, direct communication, and conventional internet communication to reach them.  On the corporate level VIVA has relationships with most of the corporate institutes, government institutes, and companies in the region and we reach these institutions through directly communicating with them.

What is your final message to our audience about Kuwait and VIVA?

Kuwait is moving towards a better financial position in the region and a lot of projects are coming to Kuwait.  In most of the financial papers the mega projects in Kuwait are mentioned and these projects are making us a major economic player in the Middle East and the Gulf Region specifically.  For VIVA we are keen to serve all of our customers and work with our suppliers.  Our intentions in the upcoming years are to aid in the expansion of VIVA.

In a few years how would you like to see VIVA in Kuwait?

We want to be the leading GSM operator in Kuwait in all aspects including serving our customers, providing them with new and innovative services, providing new products, and also leading by capturing a greater portion of the market. We would like to someday see VIVA being the number one operator in Kuwait.

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