With a mission to create a robust company that will serve the people of the Sultanate and become an employer of choice for budding Omani talent, Ooredoo Oman was incepted. It was founded and registered in 2004 and launched its services in 2005. Today, it is an integrated services communications operator serving around 2 million customers across the Sultanate. Its journey has been focused on supporting Oman’s digital transformation, catering to the country’s ever-evolving online and communications needs, while fulfilling its promise to enrich its customers’ digital lives.
In an interview with Insights Success, Raed Mohammed Dawood, the Director of Branding, Communications and Corporate Affairs of the company shares how by investing in its superfast network, using transformative technologies such as cloud services, IoT, and other high-growth sectors, Ooredoo is helping to put Oman firmly in the global race when it comes to digital innovation.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
What were the challenges that came across founding the organization in 2004?
Oman is a competitive market, given the relatively small population, but we have carved a position for ourselves through our great value products and services, fantastic network and awesome, digital first customer experience. And this competitiveness has actually driven a lot more innovation, making for a very dynamic sector. Among our achievements to date are having successfully set up one of the fastest mobile networks in the country, covering over 95% of the population with 4G and with a total population coverage of over 99% across all of our services. We also launched our 5G Home Internet in 2020 setting the scene for what is to come from us in the near future.
Being an experienced business leader, what is your opinion regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Telecommunications Industry? And how has Ooredoo Oman managed to overcome this significant challenge?
During the pandemic, the industry had to cater to increased data demands, keep networks running smoothly, and support customers working, learning, and staying at home, while adapting to a vastly different working environment ourselves. We had a clear strategy for 2020, which was to protect staff, protect the network, serve our customers, and support the government. This was fulfilled in a number of ways from meeting the increasing demand for digital services to keeping our employees at home for as long as possible. In fact, we were among the first organisations in the country to activate work-from-home protocols, while ensuring employees had both the technology and the capabilities to do so. From the beginning we took it not as a challenge, but as an opportunity for us to adopt a more agile digital culture. Meanwhile, we enabled people to communicate with those they love, and ensured that businesses and businesspeople could continue to function successfully from home.
What is your thought on the necessity of a positive work culture? In what ways do you implement it at your organization?
We know that a positive work culture leads to greater organisational effectiveness. For us, it’s done through nurturing a relationship with our teams and making sure they feel heard. For example, during the pandemic when we were all working from home, we used digital tools like social media, WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook Workplace, to keep in constant contact, maintain a spirit of camaraderie, and keep our eyes and ears open about how everyone was feeling. Thankfully, the overall outcomes have been positive. Among our people, when asked in a survey, 95% of our family members said they were happy with the work-from-home arrangements.
In what ways has Ooredoo Oman contributed to the community? If given a chance, what change would you bring in providing growth opportunities to stimulate human growth
We consider ourselves an integral member of Omani society and as a result, our corporate social responsibility is geared towards making the lives of families better. Through our Ooredoo Goodwill programme, we continue to contribute to women’s empowerment, education and entrepreneurship, promoting the sustainable development of communities across the country. We are also working hard to fulfil our mission as a digital enabler, supporting Oman’s 2040 vision to become a technologically-advanced and knowledge-based economy by providing people with more ways to be digital.
In the last year alone, we provided support to a number of organisations countrywide. These include the Al-Wafa Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children, where we set up ‘sensory rooms’; the Al Noor Association for the Blind, through donations of digital devices to enable learning; and to the Oman Association for the Disabled in Al Buraimi and the Omani Bahjah Orphan Society in Salalah, to support the ‘Saturday Market’ in Dhofar, where families are provided a unique platform to bolster their income and showcase their talents. The Goodwill team also designed and implemented two ‘Digital Entertainment Rooms’ for the Paediatric Cancer and Paediatric Surgery rooms at the Royal Hospital.
When COVID-19 hit, our priorities changed and we were able to mobilise quickly to redirect our efforts towards initiatives that helped the nationwide fight to stop the virus’ spread and mitigate its wider impacts. Since March, we donated medical testing supplies and equipment to a number of hospitals across Oman. To address the sudden and unanticipated closing of schools and educational institutions, we signed with the Ministry of Education to support their education portal. We also sponsored ‘EDUFIRE’, a platform designed to enable students graduating from high school to choose their college or university online.
What is your vision for the company for the next five years?
We are expanding our connectivity, services, digital enablement and our positive impact in the community. We’re one of the largest FDIs in Oman and we will continue investing in the country and our people, while supporting Oman’s Vision 2040 to become a digitally-advanced and knowledge-based economy
We’re also anticipating a lot of momentum on technologies like 5G and IoT. We’ve been hard at work in preparation for this for some years now making sure we are ready with the infrastructure that will enable us to take the country’s digital landscape to the next level.