STC promotes customer-centric services at Gitex

This year’s Gitex Saudi Arabia will be of paramount importance for operator Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) as it contemplates the onset of competition in the market for the first time in its history.

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By  the Gitex Times Staff Published  April 13, 2005

This year’s Gitex Saudi Arabia will be of paramount importance for operator Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) as it contemplates the onset of competition in the market for the first time in its history. The imminent launch of the Kingdom’s second mobile operator, Etihad Etisalat, together with the licensing of two public data communication providers, is set to create an operating environment that STC has had not previously encountered, and the telco is keen to communicate that it is ready for the changes at this year’s show. “At this year’s event we are going to showcase our customer care initiatives,” says Saad Bin Thafir Alqahtani, general manager of corporate communications at STC. He expects the operator’s participation in this year’s event to be more comprehensive than in previous years, with a range of technologies slated to make an appearance. In addition, the PPT will spend time talking to delegates about its Qitaf loyalty points redemption programme, which enables users to collect points by subscribing to Al Jawal and Al Hatif services. These points can be redeemed in the form of free calling minutes or text messages. Customer-focus is key for STC as it seeks to minimise the effects of subscribers churning to the new market entrants. STC’s programme of price reduction and customer-focus has been intensified over the last nine months, and the operator’s stand at Gitex will be an opportunity to communicate theses developments to the market. “We intend to use the event to talk with clients and learn more about their needs,” says Alqahtani. STC has unveiled a number of radical service-oriented improvements to its fixed-line Al Hatif service in recent months; spurred by a desire to improve landline services with new technology, better quality of service, and an expanded network. STC has reduced its installation charges to SR300 (US$80) for a first line, and SR200 for additional lines. The operator has spread its landline network to reach all areas in the Kingdom, through the use of Digital Microwave Technology and other technological advancements include the offer of services like caller identification, call waiting, call forwarding, conference calls, wake-up calls, and voice mail. In January, the operator announced reductions to the tune of 15% for international calls to more than 120 countries around the world. The reductions came into effect on January 1 and apply to all GCC and Levant countries, plus Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, India, Pakistan and others. “Wireless broadband is another product that will be on display at our stand,” Alqahtani reveals, a move that is likely to have been triggered by Etihad Eisalat’s interest in the development of 3G services in the Kingdom.

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