Ooredoo Kuwait group held its annual general assembly

With a presence of 93.20% of the shareholders

  
Ooredoo Kuwait group held itsnbsp;annual general assembly
  • 15 fils per share cash dividend declared
  • Reported consolidated revenues of KWD 593 million in 2020
  • Ooredoo Kuwait reported revenues of KWD 209.8 million in 2020
  • Al Thani: NMTC group will unite efforts to dominate the telecom industry this year and in the post-pandemic era
  • Al-Babtain: Ooredoo Kuwait witnessed a remarkable jump in digital sales revenues by 90% 

Kuwait- Kuwait City: Ooredoo Kuwait Group –National Mobile Telecommunications Company K.S.C.P “Ooredoo” – held its Annual General Assembly Meeting yesterday Monday March 1st at the Headquarters. The AGM was attended with a presence of 93.20% of the shareholders and (15 fils per share) cash dividend was declared to the shareholders already registered in the company's record date of March 31, 2021.

During the AGM, the agenda was reviewed; the financial statements and reports were stated, discussed and approved while all other articles on the agenda were also discussed. The Group’s Annual Financial Report included the most prominent achievements of the group during the year 2020 was also reviewed.

Optimism 

In a statement delivered on the occasion of the AGM, Chairman of the board Sh. Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani stated the fact that 2020 has been an exceptional year where economies and businesses have been deeply affected by the pandemic. He added “ I remain highly optimistic, that we will overcome this situation in 2021 and for the years to come; where the world will have to adjust to the new normal”.

Revenues Growth 

Speaking of the financial growth, Al Thani said “our financial performance was impacted by the economic slowdown resulting from this global pandemic, which deteriorated market conditions in some of the countries we operate in. NMTC reported consolidated revenues of KWD 593 million in 2020 down from KWD 633 million in the previous year. Revenues improved sequentially from KWD 148 million in Q3 2020 to KWD 151 million in Q4 2020 indicating the start of a potential recovery.  However, due to the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic we remain cautiously optimistic and prudent in our approach. 

Digital Solutions ahead

Al Thani concluded by saying “As we look ahead over the next year, and we promise we will invest in more efforts towards building smarter, safer, and stronger solutions as well as offering exclusive offers and plans for all our customers. NMTC group will unite efforts to dominate the telecom industry in the coming year and in the post-pandemic era”.

Number of the board members: Dr. Yousuf Al-Sellili an attended the AGM in addition to Ooredoo Kuwait CEO Abdulaziz Yaqoub Al-Babtain, Chief of Operations Fadi Kawar and a number of other representatives of the executive management. It witnessed the presence of Kuwait Clearing Company and the Ministry of Commerce.

Pandemic’s Positive Impact 

Commenting on the financial results of 2020, Ooredoo Kuwait CEO Abdulaziz Yaqoub Al-Babtain said “COVID-19 has shown very clearly the critical role that telecommunications play in our society and economy. While the pandemic has been a profound societal and economic crisis, it has reinforced the importance of connectivity as a critical part of a functioning society and everyday life. The widespread and accelerated shift to virtual models – from the world of work to how we educate the next generations – has driven up demand for connectivity services on an unprecedented scale.

Digital Evolution 

Speaking about the digital growth journey of Ooredoo Kuwait Al-Babtain said “Today, millions of people depend on the online connection to study and work from home, attend virtual meetings, and shop online. Thus, Ooredoo Kuwait constantly improves its products, services, and offerings to serve the community. Ooredoo Kuwait’s digital user base witnessed a significant growth supported by an increase in sales through “MyOoredoo App”.

Ooredoo Kuwait continued to accelerate its digital strategy to create a seamless user experience and drive growth of its digital customer base. Ooredoo Kuwait witnessed a tremendous increase in digital user numbers and digital sales revenues by 90%.

Awards 

Al-Babtain expressed his gratitude as Ooredoo Kuwait was honored by several entities and won many prestigious awards including the “Best Loyalty and Rewards Program” award for its “Nojoom” Rewards Program from the Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit in November 2020. Another prestigious recognition as the ‘Best Application’ was from the MENA Digital Awards for the innovative MyOoredoo App. Ooredoo Kuwait was also named the winner of Bronze Stevie Awards in the categories ‘Most Valuable Corporate Response’ and ‘Business & Government’. Ooredoo also won the Best National Day TVC 2020from the Arab Media Forum

Exclusive Products for B2B 

Al-Babtain said that B2B and enterprises in Kuwait were offered a wide range of exclusive products during 2020. Ooredoo Kuwait launched the e-learning platform in partnership with Edunation. As Ooredoo Kuwait continues to support the digital transformation with the latest digital services, Ooredoo is bringing e-learning platform Edunation as a new -age, learning environment aiming to provide schools with the opportunity to go digital. Edunation is a provider of a new-age learning environment. It strives to help students to capitalize on teachable moments by giving them instant access to knowledge at all times. We have also expanded our digital solutions and launched exclusive product & services: E-store for government employees, the 1st B2B e-store across Kuwait, ICT Solutions , Virtual Desktop infrastructure, the Security Operation Center, Web Application Firewall. Ooredoo supported business continuity and offered resilience solutions since the early days of the pandemic: Thermal Camera, Social Distancing Solution through AI analytics, Occupancy measurement, smart helmet and remote working solutions. Ooredoo celebrated a 1000 day completion of data center services with zero down time and curried out the successful expansion of BIR operations in 56 branches to deliver a better customer experience and 24/7 support to customers. HP and ARUBA also certified Ooredoo Business as a gold partner.

Assurance & Sustainability

Al-Babtain concluded his statement with a clear tone of optimism and said “Ooredoo Telecom, the first to introduce innovative digital services in Kuwait, has been again an extraordinary performer during the tough times the world went through, and achieved greatness. 

Today, we mark this year by celebrating everything we have accomplished – from bringing new innovative digital solutions to our customers, to supporting the government and community during the crisis, collaborating with well-established companies, and more. Ooredoo Kuwait will continue the journey of success.”

Financial Highlights:

  • Consolidated customer base decreased by 5% to 24.8 million in 2020, compared to 26.1 million in 2019.
  • Revenues in KWD were impacted by lower sales in Kuwait (substantial support for local customers with free of charge services and plans), a decrease in Algerian revenue mainly due to the weak economic environment, currency devaluation, price competition and the impact of the Coronavirus and related business limitations across all operations. Consequently, consolidated revenue decreased by 6% to KWD 592.8 million for 2020, compared to KWD 633.5 million in 2019.
  • EBITDA decreased by 15% in 2020 to KWD 196.9 million, compared to KWD 232.6 million in 2019.
  • Net profit attributable to NMTC was KWD 3.4 million for 2020 compared with KWD 30.1 million in 2019, due to the decline in EBITDA
  • The consolidated earnings per share was 7 fils for 2020, compared to 60 fils per share earned in 2019. The Board of Directors recommends a dividend payment of 15 fils per share

The Group’s operational performance and achievements can be summarised as follows:

  • Ooredoo Kuwait

Ooredoo Kuwait has reaffirmed its full support of the government and its entities in light of the Coronavirus outbreak in the country beginning of March 2020 and to ensure that customers are staying home as per Government directives. The company reaffirmed its support during a meeting held with the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA). During March 2020, which was the beginning of the outbreak, the company reaffirmed its support by collaborating with the Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) by providing customers with free 5GB internet and free calls for one month. Ooredoo Kuwait also launched its ‘Be Safe. Be Home. Be Online’ campaign which featured an array of digital offers and services designed to support customers and to ensure they are well connected and informed during the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. Ooredoo Kuwait celebrated 1000 days of launching its state of the art data center with zero downtime since its launch in 2017. This comes to further reiterate the company’s commitment to being one of the leading companies in information technology solutions, and the company of choice for prospective clients searching for ICT solutions, catering especially for the needs of corporates and businesses. The data center provides a suite of managed hosting services tailor-made to fit corporate and business needs.  These services are ideal for corporates and businesses looking to better manage their data, platforms and applications. More and above, Ooredoo Kuwait launched its all-new “Shamel Pro” on Monday, 19 October 2020, which was a big step that added to the company’s portfolio. The hard work of Ooredoo’s team has paid off as they have proudly stated that they gained more than 1,000 new “Shamel Pro” customers in the first two days of its launching. Ooredoo Kuwait never ceases to amaze its customers with its constant captivating products and services, and “Shamel Pro” takes Ooredoo’s digital customer experience to the next level through its three different plans that were designed and built around the needs and passions of the local consumer market be it travelling, gaming or entertainment. The company's headquarters opened its doors on Friday, 20 November, 2020 at mid-night amid with adherence to social distancing and safety measures to welcome customers who were keen on the two-day exclusive offer by Ooredoo, iPhone 12 launch offer on Shamel starting from KWD 25 per month. The hard work of the team has paid off, and the successful event was the talk of the town.

An undeniable fact, the C-19 crisis has imposed unforeseen global challenges and left a lot of human damage. One of the priorities of Ooredoo Kuwait was to provide and preserve jobs for all. Hence, Ooredoo was one of the companies that did not dismiss its employees during the COVID-19, rather, they made distinct efforts to employ young talents, and in December 2020 specifically, the company opened its doors for Kuwaiti youth to join the Ooredoo family. Ooredoo Telecom, the first to introduce innovative digital services in Kuwait, is reshaping the age of information and insight through innovative partnerships. The company is launching state-of-the-art IPv6 and be 5G/IoT ready for faster mobile data customer experience and evolution of smarter network. The partnership between Ooredoo and Wipro Limited enables the services on Ooredoo’s mobile network in Kuwait. Wipro leveraged a dual-stack solution through network devices that translate Internet Protocol (IPv4) and (IPv6) to provide futuristic, reliable, secure, and faster mobile data experience.

Ooredoo represented by Fast Telco has also been recognized as a Gold Partner in the Aruba Partner Ready for Networking Program with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. It has also signed up to be Aruba’s first Managed Service Provider (MSP) in Kuwait. Gold Certified Partners are recognized for having some of the industry’s best-trained network engineers and demonstrating the highest level of expertise in planning, designing, implementing, and supporting complex networking, security, and wireless solutions. Ooredoo have fulfilled Gold level competencies and completed noteworthy projects in the country which has enabled them to reach this level.  Ooredoo has also signed a partnership with Nutanix, Inc. a leader in enterprise cloud computing, to offer Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)-as-a-Service to businesses in Kuwait. The telecom service provider has implemented Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform combined with Citrix Virtual Desktops software in its data center with a view to provide a fully supported solution for desktop virtualization to small and medium businesses (SMBs) and enterprise customers. Moreover, Ooredoo and Batelco, the leading digital solutions provider in Bahrain, partnered to launch “Global Zone” in Kuwait which will offer an ecosystem platform to further support the enablement of digital transformation in the region. The company has also partnered with Warba Bank, Kuwait’s leading Islamic Bank with the aim of providing innovative digital services, solutions, and products to their customers. This partnership is also the first of its kind in Kuwait which will provide mutual cooperation in providing innovative and smart digital solutions that will satisfy customer needs and provide them with the best and most innovative digital experience.

Lastly, Ooredoo Kuwait announced its 5-year partnership agreement with Tamdeen Pearl, a subsidiary of Tamdeen Group, Kuwait’s leading mixed-use property developer. As per this agreement, Ooredoo will provide innovative services and integrated digital communication solutions supported by the high-speed 5G technology for phase one of Al Khiran project, the ‘‘Hybrid Outlet Mall’’, located in the heart of Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City, and the region’s first hybrid outlet, leisure and lifestyle destination. Ooredoo will also support the project with state-of-the-art cyber security technical services with its highest international standards and specifications. Ooredoo’s social responsibility strategy is based on many values including communicating with all segments of the society, caring for them and enriching their digital lives, as well as manage all the challenges that might hinder the progress of the societies

 Thus, Ooredoo Kuwait collaborated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a related organization of the United Nations (UN), that plays a leading role in the field of migration governance globally. The collaboration allows Nojoom members who are also Ooredoo customers to donate their points to IOM on MyOoredoo Application.

Ooredoo continued with “سيف مجرب” campaign which was a dedication to all frontliners encouraging them and highlighting the fact that they are the real soldiers who will protect us and help us get through the crisis.

Moreover, the “Free minutes and internet, on us” was activated as part of our efforts to support our customers while the country is going through Covid-19 circumstances. Ooredoo Kuwait offered special free offers to help all customers stay connected at all times with the tagline “Stay safe! Stay home! Stay online!” Ooredoo Kuwait offered free 5GB internet per day for all customers. From another side, Ooredoo offered our customers exceptional packages at exclusive prices to encourage them to stay at home safely, last but not least, our employees were working safely from their homes, and government officials were given all the support from our side through offering them free SIM cards, internet, and calls to stay connected with their families and friends. Proactive, data-driven crisis response has been shaped. We have identified and acknowledged the crisis and delineated COVID-19 response plan from normal business activities. Formed a committee to coordinate responses to all stakeholders on a daily basis. Took steps to provide continued delivery of critical national infrastructure and fulfill customer priorities around maintenance and confidence. Data usage scored up to 93% nationwide during full lockdown in May 2020. Telecommunications is a people-intensive industry, with a seasoned workforce that includes teams in offices, on trucks and in retail storefronts. During Covid-19, work-from-home strategy was applied. The PPE handbook was circulated amongst all employees at OK and all premises were disinfected when working in the office resumed. All offices were labelled with social distancing and health and safety tips signs and stickers. Determined which employees can work remotely without compromising productivity. Prioritized cyber safe remote technology capabilities to transition workers to remote work while maintaining productivity. Assure the safety of employees who need to continue working on-site by continually updating and communicating risk-mitigation guidelines. Drafted and updated HR policies to ensure they are appropriate in the current environment. Free SIMS distribution and gifts to Quarantine centers in Kuwait. Ooredoo Kuwait gifted all C19 patients under quarantine and the staff treating them at Aqua Marine Resort, Sea Shell Resort, and Khalifa Resort.

  • Ooredoo Tunis

During 2020, Ooredoo Tunisia solidified its position as the number one telecommunications operator by market share, network speed and customer service, while demonstrating the critical role it plays in the nation’s digital infrastructure and social fabric. In the face of unprecedented health and economic conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the company retained over 43% of the total Tunisian mobile market.

Ooredoo Tunisia’s FILAALELI Strategy, launched in early 2020, aims to build on the company’s strengths and accelerate growth through 15 strategic programmes in three categories; Drivers, Enablers and Transformation. In particular, it focused on consumer market leadership, distribution excellence, customer centricity, extending 4G leadership and B2B transformation during the year.

In line with this strategic focus, customer-centric initiatives throughout the year sought to improve the customer journey across all channels and enhance customer satisfaction, ultimately fostering deeper customer relationships and increasing Ooredoo’s brand equity in Tunisia. In recognition of the company’s focus and dedication to customer excellence, it was honoured with the ‘Best Customer Service 2021 – Telecommunications Sector’ Award.

Ooredoo continued its network dominance by registering the fastest 4G mobile data speeds in the nation and maintained its commitment to continuous digital transformation with the number of digital consumer touchpoints growing at an accelerated pace throughout the year. Digital channels were optimised, and a range of new digital products and services were introduced to bolster the company’s web and mobile proposition.

In the consumer segment, the company ensured continuous access to services, with enhanced digital channels, new data bundles and more fixed connection options for a better home experience. It solidified its leadership in the gaming and Video on Demand (VoD) markets with the exclusive launch of ‘Free Fire’ and strategic partnerships with BeIN and OSN.

Ooredoo Tunisia’s strategic response to the COVID-19 crisis consisted of six pillars – People, Operations, Media, Digital, Government and CSR – with a range of initiatives within each pillar. A crisis committee was formed, which held regular meetings through year-end to determine the best course of action for all stakeholders.

In line with government guidelines, the company mobilised quickly in the early days of the pandemic, enabling the majority of its employees to work from home, while ensuring they had the necessary technologies and support. These swift actions protected the health and safety of employees and customers, while ensuring business continuity and avoiding service disruptions. With the second wave in September, Ooredoo again wasted no time and protected the health and safety of its employees and customers, by introducing health protocols in all its shops, increasing sanitation procedures and enabling obligatory use of masks and social distancing.

The company’s proactive response to COVID-19 served to minimise the negative impact of the pandemic on its financial performance. Ooredoo’s customer base in Tunisia decreased to 8.1 million customers in 2020. Revenues increased by 4% to reach KWD 127.7 million in 2020 compared to KWD 123.1 million in 2019. EBITDA decreased to KWD 54.7 million in 2020 compared to KWD 56.9 million in 2019 due to increased billing and collection cost reflecting a slowing economy. As a concerned and responsible corporate citizen, Ooredoo worked closely with the government and other partners throughout the year on a range of new and ongoing CSR initiatives. To help Tunisia in its fight against the spread and impact of COVID-19, Ooredoo supported the Tunisian government, including the Ministries of Health, Education and Telecommunications, with a range of critical response initiatives. It also provided free internet and data access for hospitals, universities and other selected customer segments; issued continuous health and safety awareness messages across a range of communications channels; and donated DT 800,000 to the 1818 Fund to fight the pandemic.

  • Ooredoo Algeria

Like other countries around the world, Algeria was impacted by the pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and economic slowdown. The pandemic accelerated the country’s digital transformation, though, with more people needing more access to data and digital services throughout the country.  Ooredoo Algeria prioritised its digital action plan and focused on four specific elements. Firstly, the company launched targeted marketing campaigns to help customers find Ooredoo products and offers online and to facilitate a shopping experience from the safety of their homes. Secondly, the company focused on driving digital sales and launched a new website, where it promoted new SIM card sales online.  The third element was digital care, through the upgrade of all self-care and digital channels, with new features on the mobile app facilitating payments and new purchases. The fourth element was new business and partnerships, through which Ooredoo Algeria is well-positioned to capture top line opportunities that are adjacent to the core telco proposition and add new revenue streams.

Simultaneously, the company continued to provide customers with innovative solutions and services, in a very competitive market. In 2020, Ooredoo Algeria launched a new digital offer portfolio, entitled ‘Dima Ooredoo’, which includes Anaflix and Anazik streaming services for movies and music, featuring Western, Eastern and Algerian content. This has reinforced Ooredoo Algeria’s digital leadership and enabled it to better monetise content.

Another key initiative in 2020 was to give customers more flexibility under the new concept of ‘Take control’ by using the USSD code *500# to activate or deactivate, renew and convert monthly plans. This new concept was also deployed for B2B customers through the new offer ‘Elite’, by providing them with the option to choose and change their packages each month through the USSD code 566. Additionally, through the new ‘Data Share Pro’ offer, enterprise customers can share a large volume of data (up to 1TB) from a Master SIM to several employee SIMs.

To sustain the increase in data usage, and offer customers the best user experience possible, Ooredoo Algeria continued its investment in network upgrades and modernisation throughout 2020. The company accelerated 4G LTE rollout to 209 sites nationwide and increased transmission capacity by 10% across 20 Wilayas.

Beyond the provision of connectivity services, mobile payment and online shopping remained one of the most important innovations for Algerian customers.

With regard to the company’s response to the pandemic, the first priority was to ensure the health and safety of its employees. In March 2020, Ooredoo Algeria set up a teleworking procedure, allowing the majority of employees to work from home, with adequate technical support and assistance to make the switch to remote working as efficiently as possible.

Several measures were taken to minimise impact on customer experience, with the call centre and direct sales team providing continuity of service throughout the crisis period. Health and safety procedures were implemented for all staff operating from the office, in the shops or deployed in the field. Ooredoo’s procurement team succeeded in supplying staff with adequate means of protection despite the scarcity of these resources in the market at the onset of the public health crisis.

Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives during 2020 were targeted at communities most impacted by the pandemic. Held in co-operation with Red Crescent, the company helped to distribute hygiene kits, disinfection products, and placed ‘Keep your distance’ stickers on shop floors and public areas. Additionally, 15 million dinars was donated to the Health Ministry to support quarantine of repatriated Algerians. Ooredoo Algeria also launched a health prevention campaign across TVC and digital channels, and promoted educational content and an e-learning platform.

Financially, Ooredoo Algeria was negatively impacted by the pandemic, especially during the first half of the year. Customer base in Algeria decreased by 1% to 12.5 million in 2020 compared to 12.6 million in 2019. Business in Algeria was negatively impacted by the devaluation of the Algerian Dinar, a weak economic environment and intense price competition. Consequently, revenues decreased to KWD 190.0 million in 2020, compared to KWD 208.7 million in 2019. EBITDA was KWD 62.6 million in 2020, down from KWD 72.4 million in 2019. Algerian Dinar depreciated by 5% year on year. In terms of revenue market share, Ooredoo Algeria occupied second place in the country, with 33.38% revenue market share.

  • Ooredoo Palestine

During 2020, Ooredoo Palestine increased revenues and profit, and expanded its network coverage, while also supporting the communities in which it operates with targeted activities to alleviate the impact of the pandemic. Ooredoo Palestine continued to enhance and expand its network during the year, to meet the increase in service demand and provide connectivity to more customers in remote geographical areas. The company expanded the 3G network services in the West Bank, enhancing the quality of service and customer experience. This resulted in an increase in both new customers and 3G data services revenue. Ooredoo Palestine gained market share in comparison to last year, due to its leadership in mobile data, promotions initiatives and successful retention plans, and is now the data leader player in the Palestine mobile market for 2020.

Ooredoo Palestine’s digital transformation journey was accelerated by the pandemic, with upgrades and improvements carried out at all levels including digital sales and digital care, in addition to digitising and automating the internal processes to maintain expansion in the market position. One such example is the ‘Fawri Express’ app, a dedicated mobile application which the company developed in 2020 to optimise and simplify SIM activation and personalisation processes, to digitise top-up and bundle activations. Through the app, Ooredoo Palestine can monitor sales transactions in real time, which helps evaluate channel performance and sales quality. Internally, the company continued its digitalisation strategy, with one key highlight for the year being the automation of its purchasing cycle, with end-to-end solutions.  Ooredoo Palestine also implemented new information security solutions (Privilege Access Management, Migration to Microsoft 365) to assure robust security management and minimise information security risks.

Ooredoo Palestine reinforced its brand presence across social and digital platforms, aiming to increase its digital presence and marketing effectiveness. In addition, a dedicated offering was launched through the ‘My Account’ application aiming to redirect customers toward digital channels. During the pandemic lockdown, the company heavily promoted the digital care centre to provide 24/7 support.

Ooredoo Palestine responded quickly and efficiently to the pandemic outbreak and lockdowns. Contingency plans covering all functions were fully activated to ensure business continuity. Significantly, 95% of the workforce worked from home during the lockdown, with some departments such as Customer Care operating fully from home. The company implemented strict protocols for employees whose work required their presence in offices or out in the field, in accordance with public health and safety standards, and social distancing regulations. 

To ensure continuity in employee development programmes during the pandemic, the company provided employees with access to the LinkedIn Learning platform and continued its leadership development programme for select employees. To support its customers during the pandemic, Ooredoo Palestine provided data bundles and free minutes, as well as extensions on payments for all government customers. To support the education system, Ooredoo Palestine introduced free E-learning services across the country and continued to sponsor Injaz Palestine, an annual event where students compete in the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship. The company and its employees also contributed to the governmental ‘Waqfet Izz’ fund to help ease the impact of COVID-19 on those most affected. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology announced the launch of the mobile number portability service at the end of September 2020, which enables customers to switch telecom provider while keeping the same phone number. This is a positive development for the company, with the potential to boost Ooredoo Palestine’s market position and market share in the future.

Financially, Ooredoo Palestine reported Customer base in Palestine stood at 1.3 million customers in 2020. Revenue increased by 3% to KWD 31.2 million in 2020, compared to KWD 30.2 million in 2019. EBITDA was strong, increasing 15% to KWD 10.5 million in 2020, compared to KWD 9.0 million in 2019, driven by operational efficiencies across the business.

Maldives was forced to close its borders in early 2020 due to the pandemic health crisis, thus bringing its flourishing tourism industry to a standstill. With tourism and related industries contributing to 40%+ of GDP, the pandemic created an immediate crisis for industry workers and the thousands of families and small businesses that directly and indirectly rely on tourism for their livelihood. Access to the internet became a lifeline for the community during the lockdown period, with families relying on it for essential shopping, virtual classes, working from home/remotely and keeping in touch with their loved ones. Ooredoo Maldives’ biggest priority was to utilise its technologies, nationwide network and innovative services to help the nation transition to a digital life.

The company provided free data for customers, including free GBs per day during lockdown for home broadband customers and free connectivity for those in quarantine, emergency workers, public health authorities, students, teachers, government employees and more. To further ease the financial difficulties faced by customers, Ooredoo Maldives provided payment plans according to customer capabilities to continue using its services and help them stay connected. To cater to the growth in users across digital channels, and the spike in digital transactions, Ooredoo Maldives invested in scaling its digital infrastructure. The m-Faisaa mobile banking app was upgraded with further functionalities added, such as providing customers with the ability to add money via bank transfer and upgrade their wallet status. The company launched the ‘Do it All from App’ digital campaign to drive awareness about its features including recharge, bill payments, money transfer, shopping and 24/7 customer care via Live Chat on the Ooredoo App. Additionally, Ooredoo Maldives launched eSIMs through its digital channels, providing a 100% digital contactless journey for customers and catering to a growing market segment, with 28% of eSIM-capable devices in Maldives now using eSIM. Ooredoo Maldives’ e-commerce platform ‘Moolee’ provided small businesses with an instantly adoptable digital platform featuring a contactless experience to supply essentials such as water, food and safety items to customers during lockdown. Moolee hosted 45 active merchants selling over 2,000+ items to people across Maldives throughout lockdown and the ongoing pandemic situation, and Ooredoo offered the platform free of charge to all merchants and provided free shipping on all orders.  Additional digital initiatives included the partnership with oDoc, Sri Lanka’s leading telemedicine platform, which connects patients with doctors for online consultations which are universally accessible and affordable to all.

For enterprise clients, the company collaborated with Huawei to launch Cloud services in the Maldives to provide an-easy-to-use computing platform for businesses. The company also launched innovative solutions such as Facebook Flex, Digital Hospitality Suite, Ooredoo Meet and more, which addressed customers’ immediate needs at the height of the pandemic and in the weeks and months thereafter. Despite the adverse impact of the pandemic on business, Ooredoo Maldives continued its investment plans.  The successful launch of Maldives Sri Lanka Submarine cable in 2020 permits additional strengthening of the telecommunications infrastructure of the Maldives, while supporting the implementation of innovative and evolving technologies. The company also rolled out Ooredoo 5G services, and expanded its SuperNet Broadband services to new areas, with fast speeds of up to 100Mbps.

Ooredoo Maldives remained an active supporter of the community. In 2020, the company prioritised supporting the national pandemic response, including a donation of MVR 2.5 million towards medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment to the Government of Maldives. With the aim of joining the countrywide efforts in restoring the tourism industry of the Maldives, Ooredoo launched the ‘Visit Maldives Now’ campaign to promote the country as a safe haven for visitors, targeting over 100 million customers across all of Ooredoo’s global markets. Additionally, the company maintained customer engagement nationwide by organising virtual events such as the Eid Music Show and ‘Atholhu Dhuvun’ — a first of its kind virtual run in the Maldives that was joined by over 5,000 participants from all corners of the country, which showed hopefulness and togetherness of our communities.

Financially, Ooredoo Maldives reported a 15% decrease in revenues to KWD 34.3 million in 2020, compared to KWD 40.2 million in 2019. EBITDA was KWD 17.0 million in 2020 compared to KWD 22.1 million in 2019. Ooredoo Maldives now serves a total of 349k customers.

The pandemic had a negative material impact on the company’s financial position, and specifically, on roaming revenues and enterprise revenue, especially from the resort and guesthouse business sector. To mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the company’s financial position, Ooredoo Maldives implemented effective cost controls and optimised operational expenditures and capex investments to maintain a good cashflow position. The company’s digital offerings and increased digital penetration also helped to further optimise intermediate costs by eliminating recharge and collection commissions charged for non-digital transactions. The company received many awards in 2020 in recognition of its outstanding customer services, digital innovations and contribution to the sector. At the Asia Pacific Stevie Awards, Ooredoo Maldives won two gold Stevie awards for Innovation in Apps and Innovation in Customer Service and one Stevie silver award for Innovation in Technology Industries. At the Stevie International Business Awards 2020, Ooredoo Maldives won the Gold Stevie for Company of the Year (Telecommunications — Medium-size); the Silver Stevie for Most Innovative Company of the Year — Up to 2,500 Employees; and two Bronze Stevie for Mobile Site & App Award (Business) and Most Valuable Corporate Response. Ooredoo Maldives MD & CEO Najib Khan won one of the 2020 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for Asia’s Most Inspiring Executives; and Dhiyana Afeef, Senior Manager Customer Care, won the Bronze Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year. Ooredoo Maldives was named the Best Investor Relations Company Maldives 2020 at The Global Banking and Finance Review Awards.

-Ends-

For Media Inquiries:
Ooredoo (NMTC)
Fatemah Dashti, PR & Media
PO Box 613, Safat 13007, Kuwait
E-mail: fdashti@ooredoo.com.kw  

About Ooredoo Kuwait (NMTC)

Commercially launched in December 1999, the Company’s share price as of 31 December 2020 was KWD 0.627, giving a market valuation for Ooredoo (NMTC) of KWD 3.0 Billion. 

For more details please visit Ooredoo Website www.ooredoo.com.kw 

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