LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 MENA, DUBAI: Digital disruption is the only way to get ahead of the game and succeed in the challenging Middle East market, Atef Helmy, senior advisor to the board of directors at Orange Middle East and Africa, said.
Helmy (pictured) also emphasised the importance of strengthening the company’s presence in online, social media, retail and digital services.
To achieve this, Orange’s business units struck partnerships with popular providers of consumer-facing services such as social media platforms and innovative start-ups in the region, he explained.
“There’s no way to get ahead of the game and create new business without embracing digital disruption,” he said.
Discussing the importance of partnerships, he added: “we have to use expertise to handle the situation in a very challenging market that exists in the Middle East.”
The comments came in a session themed around creating new business models in which Ziad Shatara, CEO of Jordan-based mobile operator Umniah, agreed operators must embrace transformation to prosper in the new digital age.
“Dumb pipe is one model. It can work but it is not a model where you can have high EBIDTA multiples and as a result EBITDA has to be very healthy – it’s a wholesale business. On the other hand I see a big opportunity in digital transformation, I feel this business model is the right option.”
Operator transformation was high on the agenda for day two of the event, with executives from Zain Group and MVNO Virgin Mobile also highlighting their progress and plans for competing for business in the new digital era.