2020 felt like the age of armageddon and somehow, 2021 feels like the age of rising businesses. Call us poetic but our race sure knows how to rise from the ashes. The pandemic sure has not ended yet, but we are back on our feet yet again.
Now, you must think that it’s great that the market is flooded with new businesses & it’s expanding even in the middle of the pandemic. Well, you are not wrong. But it’s a bitter-sweet situation for businesses. The rise in the amount of new business means more options for consumers, hence, a tough competition for brands. These changing times are testing your consumer’s brand loyalty towards you. But you cannot blame them for trying what’s the best for them. So what to do? Has it become really hard to retain your consumers? It has! But not if you adapt to the changing times.
The Middle East has seen some remarkable progress when it comes to adapting to modern technologies. The telecom industries in the Middle East can be seen coming at par with other nations. The digital giants are not only acknowledging the fact that telecom services have proven to shape the purchasing decisions of buyers, but are also working towards it. If we take a look back at the history of telecom industry development in the Middle East region, the traces of expansion can be seen since liberation in 2003. But now, they are upgrading faster and better with the technology. The Telecom sector in the Middle East has advanced concerning design, user experience, infrastructures, digitization, and everything else that keeps them competitive. Gone are the days when network quality, cost, and customer service were the only key factors to judge a telecom provider.
In this pandemic which has made us learn social distancing, telecommunication is the only way to stay connected. Every sector including family gatherings, office meetings, and the shopping industry saw the rise of digital transformation. In addition to that Covid-19 has influenced consumer behavior as well all over the world including the Middle East.
It has also covered the grey area where telecom companies have stepped forward to help individuals by launching various social initiatives providing them recognition in the region.
With people confined indoors, many have decided to use their smartphones to entertain, educate and help themselves. As per the report by budde.com, telehealth and e-education have topped the list of the most used categories in the Middle East & hence Covid situation is a major turning point for Digital property existence and their User experience.
Surpassing 400 million mobile subscribers which are about 65% of the population in 2020, with the milestone to raise this number to 700 million by 2025 the Middle East is amongst the fastest growing market. Despite the slowdown due to COVID-19, it is said that operators in the region will invest about $70 billion in infrastructure rollouts in the coming years.
In the middle east region, the market is influenced by Saudi Telecom from Saudi Arabia, Etisalat Group from UAE, Ooredoo from Qatar, as per Forbes ‘Top Telecommunication Companies in the Middle East’ Saudi Telecom have topped the list with a Net profit of $2.9 Billion followed by Etisalat @ $2.6 Billion and Ooredoo @ $611 Million in 2020.
It has also been seen that Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has also partnered with various solution providers like Cisco, Nokia to add 5g technology to their services.
During the pandemic, it was widely seen that companies were engaged with businesses and governments on initiatives to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on citizens. From discounts on data tariffs for educational & health sites to cash and equipment donations to hospitals and humanitarian causes, mobile operators and other industry players have supported the most vulnerable in society during the pandemic while also contributing to economic recovery efforts.
Etisalat launched CloudTalk Meetings for their users to communicate and collaborate within a safe and secure online environment adding a whole new experience for their users to conduct the meeting from anywhere. To bring in a more office-like experience they also introduced a ‘whiteboard’ an interactive tool that facilitates creativity and brainstorming.
Ooredoo Oman partnered with the Ministry of Education to design a new e-learning platform for the academic year 2020–2021 allowing students to learn remotely and experience the new world of learning.
Mobile operators STC, Mobily, and Zain offered free access for health (Soha application) and educational (Ain, Unified Education System) platforms, as well as discounts on mobile and fixed data packages.