Open potential

Samer Halawa, president of Globitel, tells CommsMEA about the latest advances in Jordan's ICT sector, and why he sees huge potential in the country's telecom industry in the coming years.

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By  Administrator Published  August 28, 2008

Samer Halawa, president of Globitel, tells CommsMEA about the latest advances in Jordan's ICT sector, and why he sees huge potential in the country's telecom industry in the coming years.

How are you finding growth in Jordan's telecoms sector at the moment? What level of growth are you seeing?

For the past ten years, Jordan's economy has been steadily improving and even more so in recent years. This boom has been mirrored in the telecoms industry.

Since the establishment of Jordan's first operator, we have since seen thriving competition with the addition of three new operators in recent years- all of whom are successfully demonstrating the strength and size of the market.

VoIP has bridged a serious gap between the need for communication and cost-effectiveness. Telecom companies feared that VoIP would compromise their revenues, but while it has greatly decreased revenues made by individual calls, it has increased the overall call volume.

Taking Xpress for example, established as a push-to-talk operator, it has recently been given a license to become a fully fledged GSM operator.

I think that we are on the brink of an exciting new era as 3G licenses are awarded in the Kingdom. This will not only open up opportunities for businesses but will introduce mobile subscribers to a wider range of services paving the way for further growth and development. We are yet to tap into the heart of the Jordanian Market, there are still so many areas left to explore.

What products and services are experiencing the strongest demand?

As we have several extensive product lines, each offering a wide array of products and services catering to the needs of operators, intricate networks and enterprises, most of our clients opt for purchasing bundle solutions (purchasing more than one solution from every category). This allows them to build more integrated and coherent systems and ultimately increases efficiency.

With the exception of very few, most of our products are generally equally-demanded at the time being. This is because the solutions we offer are designed with an eye for complementation; each solution caters to a necessity in any given telecom environment.

What challenges are you experiencing in Jordan's telecom sector? Is there anything holding the market back?

At the time being, Jordan's telecom sector is booming, and opportunities for growth are plenty. We face the usual challenges any high profile telecom solutions provider faces, such as fierce competition in a very competitive arena, but Globitel has managed to rise above any of these challenges. We have a strong client base and have managed to differentiate our products in the market.

How do you expect the market to pan out in the next couple of years?

Granting newly emerging operators 3G licenses is a great step for the Jordanian Telecoms market. I believe that we will see an increased penetration rate for data services. And in line with ever expanding globalisation, I also foresee that the face of Roaming will begin changing for the Middle East.

Paving the way, the European commission's decision to regulate and reduce roaming tariffs has coaxed other regions to do the same. If the Arab region does indeed adopt this approach, the market will inevitably see an increase in roaming traffic as well as increased interoperability between international operators.

All indications show that the recent boom in the telecom industry is only at its beginning, yet it needs a wide imagination and perseverance to take it to the next level. Telecom companies must prioritise experience-sharing and trade ideas in order for the industry to become even more fruitful, but overall we are very optimistic and excited. We cannot wait to see what's coming.

How has Jordan's liberal policy towards VoIP affected international calls business?

VoIP has bridged a serious gap between the need for communication and cost-effectiveness. During the beginning, telecom companies feared that VoIP would compromise their revenues, but while it has greatly decreased revenues made by individual calls, it has increased the overall call volume.

This has mainstreamed international communications, and will have immense benefits on the industry in the future. Essentially, then, the liberal policy is beneficial for both consumers and providers.

Do you think there is enough competition in the market now? What do you think will be the next significant changes in the market?

There is definitely enough competition. Currently Jordan is entering the "experience" stage in telecom; when options are just falling on consumers from the sky. It began with GSM, and now it is slowly moving towards more sophisticated networks like 3G and WIMAX. We expect the market to keep expanding because Jordan represents a hub for innovation in the Arab World.

Tell me about any interesting projects your company has been involved with?

Here at Globitel, we are constantly looking for the next innovative technology and ways in which to offer it to our customers. One of our most exciting products is Local Prepaid Number LPN from the roaming product line.

As I mentioned previously, breaking down international barriers means that the number of outbound roamers have increased. Essentially this is a good however; the crippling roaming tariffs discourage roamers to use their mobile services. Local Prepaid Number caters exactly to this.

By activating the LPN service roamers are assigned a new local virtual number in the countries they are visiting while simultaneously keeping their original SIM card active. LPN is also a network-based service that is completely independent of the SIM card and subscriber handset model benefiting entire inbound roamers base.

We are also very proud to announce that we have penetrated new markets such as Pakistan, Mauritania, Yemen and Tanzania. As countries with relatively young operators, they have given us the opportunity to help them adopt new and innovative services that aided them in gaining recognition among their competitors.

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