INTERVIEW: Technology is not the main challenge facing operators in terms of digital transformation or preparing for 5G, Zain Group CEO of Operations Scott Gegenheimer (pictured) explained.
In an interview with Mobile World Live at the recent GSMA Mobile 360 MENA event, Gegenheimer noted the key challenges in a digital, or indeed any, transformation is changing “the culture”, people and processes within the company itself.
Zain Group is in the process of transforming “from a mobile operator to an integrated service provider focused on the digital space and enterprise” in a bid to fend off the threat of over-the-top (OTT) service providers along with challenges unique to the markets where Zain Group operates (including “ a couple of wars” in Iraq and South Sudan).
Gegenheimer noted the technology aspect is also almost a secondary concern in terms of 5G. While standards are still being developed, which will impact the operator’s deployment plans, some of the main challenges of 5G centre on “what the licence fees are going to be”, and what it will cost to deploy the next generation networks.
The executive noted operators have not necessarily succeeded in terms of truly learning how to “monetise and be profitable on [4G] LTE”.
Like many operators, Zain Group is preparing for 5G through trials. Gegenheimer pointed to a recent test of pre-standard 5G technology conducted at the operator’s Innovation Centre in Kuwait, which he noted delivered peak data rates of 71Gb/s, as an example.
Click here to view the full interview.