The Jordanian subsidiary of Kuwaiti-owned telecoms operator Zain is investing JD100m ($141m) in the company’s infrastructure this year including upgrading the HSPA+ network, fibre optic network and landing stations for marine cables to increase connectivity to Jordan.
“There were delays to getting the third generation (3G) licence but we are running with the technology,” says Abdul Malik Al-Jaber, Zain Jordan’s chief executive, who also acts as the group’s chief operating officer.
Some of the investment will also go toward launching a hybrid mobile billing platform, which the company will launch in November this year, making it the first in the region.
Zain Jordan has successfully completed its mobile-banking trials in the country. Called E-mal, it enables users to transfer money using their mobile phones. Over the past four months the service has gained over 30,000 subscribers who complete $140,000 transactions per month. Zain will launch the service initially in Bahrain and Sudan and it will be launched across the region by the end of this year.
In a presentation at the Arab Advisors Convergence Conference in Amman, Al-Jaber suggested the way forward for operators in the region was to work together under one Arabic application programming interface (API), a unified platform to provide content for the Arab world to help channel more revenue toward the operators instead of the likes of Apple and Google.
“We are offering it to the other operators, if they like to join us they are more than welcome, it will not be exclusive to Zain. The idea began a year ago and is now coming to life, we want to take it a step further to turn into a Zain group initiative,” says Al-Jaber.