Wataniya to launch development centre

Mobile operator, Wataniya Telecom, is preparing to launch a mobile application development centre in its home country of Kuwait, in a bid to add more relevant content to its service portfolio.

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By  Richard Agnew Published  November 30, 2003

Mobile operator, Wataniya Telecom, is preparing to launch a mobile application development centre in its home country of Kuwait, in a bid to add more relevant content to its service portfolio.

The move, expected to be completed by Wataniya early next year, will provide platforms to allow Kuwaiti firms to interface with the operator's network and speed up the application development process for its recently-launched multimedia messaging service (MMS) offering.

"We are in the process of opening an application development centre in Kuwait," says David Murray, Wataniya's CEO. "[It will] provide the capability for local entrepreneurs to develop content," he adds.

While Wataniya unveiled its 'Action'-branded multimedia messaging services (MMS) in July and expanded the third-party content available for subscribers over subsequent weeks, it and other operators have faced problems in developing a portfolio of locally relevant services.

"That's been one of the biggest difficulties in our region. We have content providers in Egypt and Lebanon. Arabic content is one of the most important parts of driving data development," says Murray.

While it is pursuing a policy of signing partnerships with third parties based on revenue share to help build more content, the operator does not rule out buying into providers if it proves necessary to accelerate development.

"From a strategic point of view, we believe in revenue sharing [and] strategic partnerships. We are not a content developer, we are a facilitator. [But] if there is logic at some point in the future [in investing in a content company], we might do so," says Murray.

Meanwhile, as reported by CommsMEA last month, Wataniya has confirmed an interconnection agreement with Kuwaiti counterpart, MTC-Vodafone, to allow their respective subscriber bases to swap MMS messages.

In November, the operator also launched a new recharge system for its 'Xpress' pre-paid users. Through the system, customers dial a three digit recharge number supplied on recharge cars, press the 'send' key and receive a confirmation message via SMS.

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