LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 MENA, DUBAI: Zain Group is set to step up its play in vertical industries in a bid to address decreased demand and margins from legacy services, CEO of operations Scott Gegenheimer (pictured) said.
The company, which operates across eight markets in the Middle East and Africa, already made a number of investments in venture capital funds in the region and partnered with digital content companies in an attempt to diversify its interests.
It also made direct investments in app companies and launched new services including mobile money in some markets.
Speaking in the digital transformation keynote, Gegenheimer said: “We’ve made big bets on smart cities and next gen video, bought a global app development company and taken investment in funds to gain access to start-ups.
“We’ve still got quite a few verticals we’re looking at: I think there’s a lot of opportunity. Health is in there, we’re also looking at insurance, but regulation makes it difficult for us to enter a lot of these spaces.”
In sentiments echoing many of the issues cited on day one of the event, Gegenheimer said authorities in some markets had held up the progress of launching new services in some of the company’s markets.
Specifically, he pointed to blocked attempts to charge additional fees to use over-the-top video services and difficulties obtaining licences for finance services across its whole footprint.
Gegenheimer added operators needed to open up these new revenue streams.
“Overall the industry is not growing,” he said: “You’re probably flat or slightly down on last year yet we’re still spending 15 per cent of our revenue on capex and that’s not sustainable.”
“We have to look for new revenue streams, look for new verticals.”