Greg Young, CEO of Ooredoo Oman speaks about the company’s holistic business strategy aimed at driving Oman’s economic growth and sustainable social development
How is your business model contributing to the social and economic development of Oman?
At Ooredoo, we are all about supporting and enabling human growth by making communications more rewarding, more versatile and always a seamless experience. This is reflected in our commitment to supporting socioeconomic progress, which has driven the development of a wide variety of sustainable solutions to support individual and business growth.
However, our contribution to society goes beyond that and includes a number of important investments in telecommunications infrastructure that has enriched the lives of entire communities and nurtured the growth of the public and private sectors. Since 2012 and to the end of this year, our investment will be in excess of RO350mn. This has resulted in the delivery of high-speed internet, providing coverage to 99 per cent of the population of Oman, and the completion of our nationwide fibre backbone and the landing of the 20,000 kilometre-long SEA-ME-WE 5 submarine cable.
We have worked hard to harness the power of technology to bring massive benefits to the people of Oman, implementing over 5,500 kilometres of fibre optic cabling to connect businesses, government institutions, schools and homes countrywide.
Our efforts to champion Oman’s social and economic development have been guided by an understanding that connectivity and the availability of information is quickly becoming one of the most important pillars of economic growth. Moving forward, we will not only continue to make significant investments that spur people-to-people, national and global connectivity, but investments that promote growth and development.
How socially impactful are your CSR initiatives?
We pride ourselves on being a brand that places ‘family’ at the centre of our operations – from the friends and loved ones of employees, to customers in the wider community. As a result, we have an active and pro-active family focused corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, in villages, towns and cities across the Sultanate. We are also privileged to work in collaboration with a variety of charitable associations, and government organisations to achieve our shared goals.
The cornerstone of our community commitment, and holding a special place in the hearts of everyone at Ooredoo, is our Goodwill Journey. During this annual and well-loved cross-country voyage, a group of Ooredoo team members leave their own families during the Holy Month to spread smiles across Oman. Since its debut 12 years ago, our volunteers have travelled over 48,000 kilometres, visited more than 171 charitable organisations, and enriched the lives of over 10,000 people.
However, our journey goes beyond making charitable contributions and the distribution of gifts. With a focus on the future and creating a long-term impact, we aim to create sustainable solutions by fostering women’s empowerment, education, self-sufficiency and development, so that we can make a real contribution to society by supporting His Majesty’s vision to develop local talent, support SMEs and expand the economy. Our ‘incubator’ programmes have provided women with a series of intensive workshops to learn a range of skills such as IT, sewing, cooking and beauty, equipping them with the expertise to establish their own business and achieve economic independence.
In addition to our annual Goodwill Journey, we also invest in a broad spectrum of charitable events, community organisations, and family-oriented activities such as the Muscat Festival and Salalah Festival. We are also proud to support and sponsor a variety of sports initiatives, to help develop important life skills such as teamwork, leadership, and problem solving. We host a popular annual Football Clinic in association with France’s Premier League Leaders, Paris St Germain (PSG) Football Club for a group of carefully selected talented young footballers between the ages of six and sixteen, providing the chance to find out exactly what it takes to be a champion under the guidance of PSG’s expert coaches. We have also been involved in sponsoring MCFL; a local football league, where we sponsor teams in different divisions and have a number of Ooredoo staff involved with the teams directly. In fact, one of our senior management team has coached an Ooredoo sponsored team for the last six years. .
How is Ooredoo Oman supporting SMEs in Oman and what is its positive impact on the industry?
We have strategically been introducing products and services that cater to Oman’s growing entrepreneurial community, with a focus on helping them develop with tailored solutions. SMEs form a large part of Oman’s domestic businesses, which is why we have introduced a number of cost-effective and plans specifically created to bring SMEs greater value, flexibility, and the state-of-the-art services they require. Ooredoo has also offered SMEs opportunities to network, meet suppliers and enhance sales during events such as our annual Business-to-Business (B2B) networking event and also our annual gathering during Ramadan, which promotes collaboration between our business customers.
We also support SMEs through our extensive dealer network – there are large numbers of small, medium, and large dealers around the country selling SIM or recharge cards, for example. In most cases these dealers are SMEs, and so Ooredoo is empowering a very large number of these businesses across the country. We are very proud of the positive impact that we have been able to contribute to the SME community through providing telecoms service products and we will continue to use SMEs to represent other products we introduce in the future.
What are the major innovations the company introduced in the telecom industry?
Ooredoo’s success has been guided and sustained by innovation, which has been an integral part of our organisation from the outset. This includes our strong network, which has grown to cover almost 99 per cent of Oman’s population in just 10 years, a significant 4G footprint, the introduction of Nojoom, the Sultanate’s first loyalty programme, and a whole host of inspiring and unique products and services. We have made life easier for our customers by introducing apps and, for example, the first mobile international credit transfer service in Oman.
In addition to consistent upgrades to our market-leading products and services, our most recent innovation was our OoredooTalk service – Oman’s first VOIP app; a result of listening to our customers and providing what they need and want.
We also innovate when it comes to our online presence; something that is becoming increasingly important for any business. We have the largest audience in Oman on Twitter and YouTube and we are the most liked brand on Facebook. However, we use our social media not just for marketing, but for engaging with our customers, providing a forum for them to ask questions or provide feedback. We have also innovated in terms of the platforms we use; being the first telecoms company in Oman to use Snapchat.
For us at Ooredoo, our core values – caring, connecting, challenging – are at the heart of our operation and something we live out every day to provide a customer experience that is second to none.