Growth factor

Nael Salah, founder and managing director of Eskadenia, explains how Jordan's competitive telecoms sector is driving demand for innovative ICT software.

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By  Administrator Published  August 28, 2008

Nael Salah, founder and managing director of Eskadenia, explains how Jordan's competitive telecoms sector is driving demand for innovative ICT software.

How is Eskadenia finding demand in the Middle East?

The increasing number of operators and the competition among these operators has resulted in a need for a range of innovative value-added services and a price pressure on systems in the conventional billing and messaging areas.

As a software enterprise that is active in the design, development and deployment of a range of telecom software products, Eskadenia has benefited from this situation as it could provide for both cost effective systems and services on one side and innovation and quality systems on the other.

The company has good established relations with many telecom operators and groups in the Middle East and considers the demands for telecom software products as high. Our telecom portfolio includes a wide range of products in the billing, messaging and value added services areas.

Although more than 60% of our revenues are generated from the telecom sector, we also have a market presence that is spread over a number of verticals, catered for through our product portfolios in the areas of insurance, education, enterprise and internet.

What level of growth is the company experiencing?

Eskadenia has been growing at a rate exceeding 30% for the past five years and we expect this growth rate to continue in the years ahead. The revenue growth is a result of new-systems sales and a capitalisation on existing-customer orders for new features.

Every business deal results in a continuous revenue growth at least for the system support and software upgrades for the life time of the software which is normally a period ranging from five to ten years.

We find also that a satisfied customer tends to put more orders for new systems in new areas and we have many satisfied customers that prefer to continue the business with a company close to them in many aspects such as cultural, geographical, provision of excellent customer service, etc.

The telecom operators in the Middle East have enjoyed healthy growth rates since the start of the decade which has caused increased levels of demand for software systems.

What type of products or services are most in demand?

New telecom operators' needs are normally focused on basic systems such as billing, customer care, interconnect, messaging and enterprise resource planning systems, while established operators tend to focus on various types of value added services to provide to their subscribers in order to increase revenues and decrease churn.

We see an increased level of demand for professional services to cover the skilled telecom engineers' shortage caused by the steep growth in the number of telecommunications operators in the past years.

The very high demands for various types of local content has increased the demands for content delivery systems and messaging systems' throughput, resulting in an increase in the demand for products and solutions in this area.

We envisage that the availability of a mobile handset with almost every adult and young child in the Middle East will open the door for a range of new services associated with touching and facilitating the practical and daily life for all sorts of people.

These services will probably start by the introduction of payment mechanism and services, access to wide range of user friendly information services, interaction with government authorities, social networking, etc.

What challenges are there in the Middle Eastern telecom sector? Is there anything holding the market back?

The telecom market in the Middle East in general and in Jordan in particular has experienced an amazing growth in the past few years fuelled by the decreasing cost level of telecom services resulting from an increased level of competition and large scale deployment of telecom networks.

Although there are many operators in the Middle East, some with an ambition to become regional or global operators, we see very few software suppliers originating from this area.

Eskadenia is one of very few companies with a mission to invest in technology, create a broad telecom software product portfolio, and compete not only regionally in the Middle East but globally.

We are convinced that a Middle Eastern company originating in a country, in our case Jordan, has what it takes to be established as a global technology supplier in the telecom area. We have already a wide range of advanced products and services that could be used by any operator located in the Middle East or as a matter of fact anywhere in the world.

Our ambition is to have a full range of the telecom software systems needed by any telecom operator apart from the core network switches and access network products. Our vision is to be positioned as a total supplier of all products in our target area and to be the only supplier the telecom operator needs on the side of the core network provider.

How do you expect the market to develop over the next couple of years?

We are in general optimistic of the future of our business yet we envisage a stabilisation in the telecom sector in the region in the coming few years. We are also confident that the increasing level of competition will put pressure on the operators in the Middle East and in other regions to opt for cost effective suppliers that could at the same time provide a high level of quality, stability and advanced features in their product portfolio.

Eskadenia is continuously positioning itself to be the software supplier of choice for the telecom operators in the Middle Eastern region as a primary or home market and to the global operators for the export market.

Advanced and user friendly ways of telecommunication services has become an essential part of normal life and will evolve to serve people through facilitating and improving their daily life.

We are confident that the sector will continue in general to develop positively although there might be certain difficulties for small niche operators in certain segments of the market. We believe this will be the exception rather than the rule in the telecom sector due to abundance of ideas and capital.

What projects has the company been involved with recently?

Eskadenia is involved in many interesting projects such as the new version of the convergent billing and customer care system (Eskadenia BCRM) released by the company recently. The new system will support telecom operators through the provision of advanced features as it provides one system for various types of services.

An example could be what we call "Hybrid Subscription" which implies that a certain subscriber could be treated by the systems as a post-paid subscriber during a certain time period such as working hours and be treated as a prepaid subscriber at other times.

This subscriber may at the same time be treated as a post-paid subscriber for certain services such as voice or Short Messages while a prepaid subscriber for other types of messages such as Multi Media Messages.

The reason for the multiple payment types is that the employer of a person could cover for business calls during work time while the individual pays for personal calls during off-work times. This simple example illustrates the flexibility of new billing systems already available at Eskadenia.

The Convergent Billing & Customer Care System can be used by many network types such as various types of GSM networks, land line, VoIP or Internet Service Providers networks. A new and interesting product we believe will have a major impact in the market in the foreseeable future is the Eskadenia Mobile Payment System (EPPS).

This system will enable cellular subscribers to use their prepaid account balances, post-paid account, or certain amounts of money stored in a credit database to pay or settle certain transactions such as going to the movie theatres, purchasing from supermarkets, vending machines, or even large ticket items such as purchases of electronic gadgets.

The Eskadenia Mobile Payment System has an advanced module to manage merchant transactions accessed through mobile handsets or the Internet. This module stores all transactions made by a merchant and can be used to reverse transactions and prepare settlement reports with the telecom operator or financial enterprise responsible for the management of the system.

The system has as well the ability to transfer money from one person to another located in different countries at lower transaction fees level; a service that is envisaged to facilitate easy and secure transfers in a region that has many guest workers sending collectively huge remittances to their home countries.

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