The new brand name seen in the background.
Wataniya Telecom and Qtel to change brand to ‘ooredoo’ All subsidiary units to adopt new name

BARCELONA, Feb 26: Qtel Group, one of the world’s fastest growing telecommunications companies and Wataniya Telecom has announced that it will change its brand to ooredoo, and that each of its operating companies in emerging markets across the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia will adopt the new brand during the course of 2013 and 2014. These companies, in which ooredoo already has a controlling interest, include brands such as Qtel in Qatar, Indosat in Indonesia, Wataniya in Kuwait, Nawras in Oman, Tunisiana in Tunisia, Nedjma in Algeria and Asiacell in Iraq. The announcement was made by ooredoo Chairman His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani at a special launch event at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, Spain. During the event ooredoo announced football star Lionel Messi as its global brand ambassador and its support to the Leo Messi foundation as part of the company’s continued commitment to making a difference in communities across the world.


Reflect

“With Ooredoo we have chosen an Arabic word that means ‘I want’ to reflect our core belief that we can enrich people’s lives and stimulate human growth in the communities where we operate”, said Dr Nasser Marafih, CEO, ooredoo. “We believe that every woman should have an equal opportunity to use a mobile phone; that young people should be given the life chances that mobile technology can provide; that underserved communities should be able to have access to the Internet; and that entrepreneurs and small businesses should be able to access business services tailored to their needs. Our new brand reflects these beliefs.”


The invitation-only event included presentations by Anne Bouverot, GSMA Director General, Cherie Blair, Chairman of the Cherie Blair Foundation For Women, and Dr Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the ITU. It also featured guest appearance by Qatari Olympic medallist Nasser al Attiyah. Ooredoo has experienced significant growth over the last six years, transforming from a single market operator in Qatar to an international communications company with a global customer base of more than 89.2 million people (as of September 30, 2012) and consolidated revenues of $6.8 billion for the first nine months of fiscal year 2012. Delivering mobile, fixed, broadband internet and corporate managed services tailored to the needs of consumers and businesses in emerging markets, ooredoo has been the fastest growing telecommunications company in the world by revenue since 2006 and its enterprise value has more than tripled since 2005.


Dr Nasser continued “We are very excited to become ooredoo because the new brand signals our readiness to take the company to the next level. It is our belief that we can better serve our global customers by leveraging the combined resources and assets of a strong, unified global business under one brand.  We also believe that rebranding now will help us to maintain our momentum in the face of new realities for the industry, signaling our commitment to become a global force”
Chief Executive Officer of Wataniya Telecom, Dr Bassam Hannoun highlighted the importance of this event and expressed optimism, saying, “ooredoo as a brand will deliver unified, consistent and satisfying experience as well as innovative yet compelling services to our customers and to the society as a whole. ooredoo will be the first step in excelling and outshining with all our customers”


A number of on-going initiatives, built around its core strategy of differentiating on customer experience, are already taking ooredoo to the next level. The company has initiated a major modernisation programme across its core network and is investing for the future to deliver high speed broadband as new frequencies and new technologies open up. ooredoo has been at the forefront of delivering life-enhancing mobile services, such as mLearning in Tunisia to support young people’s economic empowerment; and Women programmes in Iraq and Indonesia. ooredoo is also providing relevant services to customers who cannot afford smartphones and working with the GSMA to develop more intuitive devices to overcome literacy barriers. Qtel will be the second Gulf-based multi-country operator to bring its foreign units under a single brand after Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co switched to the name Zain in 2007. The other two big regional players — Saudi Telecom Co and Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates — use multiple brand names across various markets.

“The idea behind having a unitary brand is that it will help create a coherent identity that communicates what the company does,” said Matthew Reed, a senior analyst at Informa in Dubai. “In theory, that should have commercial advantages because consumers will understand more readily what the company is about. It’s more efficient from an operational point of view than having multiple brands across disparate markets, as Qtel does at present.” Yet a singular brand is inflexible, Reed warned, with telecom operators often preferring to use separate brand names in markets where they are targeting different income groups. Zain has various meanings in Arabic including good and beautiful and is a particularly popular word among Gulf Arabs.


It is easy to pronounce whatever the nationality of the speaker — an important factor in a region with a large expatriate population — while the multi-syllable Ooredoo may prove more difficult, a point made by various people on Twitter following the announcement. Over the past 12 months, Qtel has increased its stakes in Iraq’s Asiacell to 64 percent and Kuwait’s No.2 operator Wataniya to 92.1 percent. Wataniya owns 90 percent of Tunisiana, having bought a further 15 percent stake in January, and is the company through which Qtel holds a controlling stake in Algeria’s Nedjma.Qtel also has a majority holding in Indosat in Indonesia and Oman’s Nawras.

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