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Zain CEO slams government involvement in broadband

CEO says that partnerships with the public sector are “ridiculous”

The CEO of Kuwait-based telecoms giant Zain has warned governments to leave the development of broadband to the private sector.

Many governments around the world have identified the role of a fast and efficient broadband network in helping to stimulate the economy and encourage growth.

But Zain CEO Dr Saad Al-Barrak said that infrastructure projects should not be controlled by any governments of countries in the region.

"I would beg governments to stay out of it, otherwise we will be stuck for the next 10 year," he said. "Partnerships with the public sector are totally ridiculous. It is a poisonous ideology of the past."

Barrak, speaking at the Arab Advisors’ telecom conference in Jordan, said that the role of the government should be to regulate and monitor the telecoms industry, and that they should not do anything else.

"Broadband is a big challenge; there is a lot of infrastructure and investment that is required, but the only way forward is the private sector, whether that involves the smallest enterprise to the largest multi-national company. Economic freedom is the mother of all freedoms," he said.

Zain recently added data roaming to its borderless 'One Network' service, allowing users to access mobile broadband at local rates in a number of countries in the region.