New CEO of Virgin Mobile eyes 15% share of Saudi telecom market

We aim to expand to 15% by 2022 in the right economic conditions: Virgin Mobile CEO

Photo used for illustrative purpose. A Saudi man looks at his mobile phone in front of a Saudi Telecom sign in Riyadh.

Photo used for illustrative purpose. A Saudi man looks at his mobile phone in front of a Saudi Telecom sign in Riyadh.

REUTERS/Zainal Abd Halim

RIYADH: Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa announced earlier this month that Saudi Arabian Yaarob Al-Sayegh has officially taken over as the company’s CEO in the Kingdom from June.

A well-established name in the Saudi telecom sector, Al-Sayegh previously worked as the executive general manager of digital at Mobily, 5 years after holding the position of executive general manager of the company’s fiber-to-home unit. Prior to that, he held senior executive positions at Intigral and the Saudi Telecom Company (STC).

“I believe the Saudi market possesses a great deal of potential, especially with the increased interest in technology from a younger generation of tech-savvy mobile users eager to enjoy fully connected lives,” Al-Sayegh told Arab News.

STC used to be the only telecom company in Saudi Arabia, before the arrival of Mobily — a Saudi company — and Zain — a Kuwaiti company — making Virgin Mobile the only non-Arab company to have established a firm foothold in the region.

Virgin Mobile has further succeeded over other competitors such as Oman’s FRiENDi mobile, whose Saudi division was acquired by and absorbed into Virgin Mobile’s services to become one of the offered packages by the company.

Highlighting the many successes of Virgin Mobile since entering the Saudi market in 2014, Al-Sayegh said: “We have built a strong base for future growth with 10 percent market share, which is over 2.5 million subscribers, and we aim to expand to 15 percent by 2022 in the right economic conditions. Internally we have a high female to male ratio, with 40 to 45 percent of our employees being women. This highlights Virgin Mobile’s support to women in Saudi Arabia.”

He added: “We are determined to have a lasting, positive impact in and across the Kingdom. We aspire to be as government-aligned as possible, forming effective partnerships, launching impactful collaborations, and working closely with Saudi leadership to realize Vision 2030 and accomplish the communal and economic goals of key industries.”

Al-Sayegh said that his experience of more than two decades in the Saudi telecommunications sector has enabled him to develop a range of cross-sector skills that will help him to tackle the new role head-on.

“Each role and position that I have occupied has equipped me with effective tools and opened my eyes to best practices that I have sought to share and apply at every company I have served. My time at Mobily and STC has given me a great understanding of the Saudi telecommunications industry. And it has opened my eyes to the opportunities for an organization like Virgin Mobile to improve the lives of customers through digital innovation in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

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