Zain-Uber partnership most innovative service: Ovum
Deal singled out from 82 innovative services
KUWAIT: Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, is pleased to announce that its partnership with Uber- the technology company that is evolving the way the world moves, has been recognized by global renowned research company Ovum, as its most innovative service for November 2015. Ovum reviewed 82 innovative services launched by service providers around the world in its Telco Services Innovation Radar monthly summary, and deemed the ZainUber alliance as the most innovative stating, “It is not often that we find a strategic partnership that can bring so many key benefits for operators.”
Announced in September 2015, the first of its kind collaboration in the region saw Zain becoming Uber’s main mobile service provider for any future Uber services in any country where Zain operates. Ovum identified that for Zain, Uber’s continual growth across the region is a bonus having the potential to create incremental revenues, attract new customers, and increase customer loyalty.
The partnership is currently operational in Bahrain, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, offering Zain customers discounted and preferential services when using the Uber platform locally and when travelling abroad. The partnership is set to be expanded to other Zain markets in due course including Kuwait, which recently offered travelling customers to the USA, UK and UAE a free ride for first time Uber users.
Ovum stated Uber could be looking at this partnership as a way to recruit drivers in countries where Zain operates, with exclusive phone and data deals being an attractive prospect to potential drivers, further supporting the extension of Uber’s service to a wider user base as it rapidly expands across the region.
Additionally, Ovum noted that, “It was important for Uber to cooperate with a telecom operator that had a powerful, wide-reaching and superior network quality across the region, acknowledging Zain’s customer scale as important to the partnership.
Commenting on the recognition, Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer said, “As we transform Zain into a digital services company, partnering with leading technology providers such as Uber is a key component of our strategy. Innovation has been central to Zain Group’s evolution, and we are gratified to see our initiatives being recognized by global research companies of the stature of Ovum.”
Gegenheimer continued, “The telecom ecosystem is undergoing rapid change, and partnerships are going to play a significant role in defining the telcos that will remain successful into the future. We are very proud of our relationship with Uber, and look forward to continuing to drive the value and service proposition for our customers.”
Humbled by the recognition, Majed Abukhater, GM for Uber said the coming together of two of the leading innovation brands in the region is further testament to Uber’s commitment to drive innovation and bring a positive change in the way people work, live and ride.
“The Middle East and North Africa is one of Uber’s fastest growing regions, a situation that’s likely to continue over the foreseeable future. With a mobile penetration rate of almost 100 percent on a regional level; and more than 71 million active users of social networking technologies, these numbers are expected to reach in the vicinity of 200 million by 2017. Against this backdrop of sustained technological progress and increased broadband penetration we are pleased to work with companies like Zain to share best practices and leverage the use of our technology platforms to recognize the potential for increased efficiency and greater ease of collaboration that disruptive technologies can present.” Majed concluded, “All said, disruptive technologies like Uber represent a sense of opportunity in the region to complement and aid its growth.” MIAMI: A shopper carries a bag as she walks out of a Guess store at Dolphin Mall on Saturday in Miami. Store retailers saw fewer customer visits on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, compared with last year, according to Kevin Kearns, ShopperTrak’s chief revenue officer. —AP KUWAIT: The US dollar stabilized vis-a-vis the Kuwaiti dinar yesterday trading at KD 0.304 whereas the euro plunged to KD 0.322, as compared to Thursday’s rates, the Central Bank of Kuwait said. The sterling pound dropped to KD 0.457, Swiss franc to KD 0.295 while the Japanese yen firmed at KD 0.002. ABU DHABI: United Arab Emirates’ investment company KBBO Group has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley among others for an expected $1 billion-plus London listing for one its subsidiaries, sources close to the matter told Reuters. Privately-owned KBBO plans to sell up to 40 percent of Centurion Partners in an initial public offering (IPO) planned for the first half of 2016, the sources said on Sunday, declining to be named because the matter was not yet public. Three other banks-Dubai’s Emirates NBD, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and EFG-Hermes- have been hired for the sale, the sources added. Officials at KBBO declined to comment. Centurion Partners was created through the merging of two KBBO subsidiaries, Centurion Investment and Infinite Investment LLC. DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding , the investment firm of billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, said its affiliate Jeddah Economic Co (JEC) had arranged financing to complete construction of the world’s tallest building. JEC agreed with Alinma Bank to establish an 8.4 billion riyal ($2.2 billion) real estate development fund that will finish work on the $1.2 billion Kingdom Tower in Jeddah, Kingdom Holding said in a statement yesterday, 26 floors of which have been built so far. The Islamic fund will also develop the 1.5 sq km (0.6 sq miles) first phase of the Jeddah Economic City project, an urban development scheme sprawling over 5.3 sq km. In addition to Kingdom Tower, the scheme is to include Saudi Arabia’s largest shopping mall.