3 Sep 2008

Nawras CEO joins GSM>3G Middle East speaker panel

I was delighted to hear from Omani MNO Nawras this morning, confirming the participation of CEO Ross Cormack on the panel of speakers at our GSM>3G Middle East TOWARDS A BROADBAND WORLD event in Dubai this December. Ross has been a loyal and enthusiastic supporter of the conference and it will be a pleasure to welcome him and his colleagues once again.

Since Ross participated at the 2007 version of the event, Nawras have gone first-to-market with 3.5G services in Oman. Nawras competes in the cellular space with the mobile business unit of incumbent carrier Omantel. Oman Mobile has yet to deploy a 3G network, but in February this year it was reported that Huawei had undercut Ericsson and Nokia Siemens networks to win the Oman Mobile contract for the building out UMTS coverage. I notice that this report describes Oman Mobile as "one of the few cellcos in the Middle East yet to build a 3G network'. I beg to differ. Referring to the invaluable World Cellular Information Service from Informa Telecoms & Media, I can see that 3G networks are as yet absent in all of Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. We expect all of these countries to be well represented at our December conference, as well as good-sized contingents from South Asian, North African and West African markets where mobile carriers are associated with Middle Eastern shareholders/owners. So I have proposed that Ross Cormack speak on the theme of gaining competitive advantage through the first-to-market deployment of a 3G network. That ought to be useful for delegates from those countries.

I am also mindful of the fact that the Omani market has recently opened up to MVNOs and mobile resellers, so a possible alternative presentation topic for Ross would be to look at how far market liberalisation and the emergence of this kind of new entrant compels established players to sharpen their focus on understanding and maximising customer value.

Two of the MVNOs concerned, FRiENDi mobile and Majan Telecom are already confirmed participants at our conference. The former will be represented by Fayez Husseini (SVP, Business Development), the latter by the company CEO Niklas Nielsen. So we are well on the way to having the Omani telecoms sector very well represented at the conference.