“Creating New Advantages for Industry Stakeholders”
Convergence to Kuwait 2017 will corroborate the need to engage stakeholders and delineate the roles that now need to be played by regulators and policy makers as an incentive for carrying out digital development investments, and for realizing new unique advantages that each stakeholder group should work toward achieving.
In this highly competitive industry, it is important to take the lead and collaborate to allow the industry to continually push innovation to the next stage. It is crucial also to ensure that all spheres of the industry are analyzed, explored and tapped to identify a road map for progression.
Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa
The hotel features extensive conference and banqueting facilities, making it an ideal venue for an important business meeting or event. Our 316 rooms and suites, 80 serviced apartments and 12 villas are all fitted to a high standard to meet your expectations of comfort, style and convenience.
Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa is a stunning beach hotel in Kuwait. Guests can take a dip in the open-air swimming pool then relax under the sun on Messilah beach.
Inside the resort you'll find seven restaurants and stylish lounges serving a range of refreshments. Our accommodations are the perfect place to relax in the evening and indulge in your favourite international dishes or sample some traditional Arabian cuisine.
Families are more than welcome at Jumeirah Messilah Beach Hotel & Spa, where you will find Sinbad's Kids' Clubs and play areas to keep the children entertained.
Located in the Messilah beach district on the south coast of Kuwait city.
-- Opening Ceremony --
SAMENA Telecommunications Council
Dr. Khalid Biyari
Saudi Telecom Company
H.E. Eng. Salim Al Ozainah
Chairman & CEO
SpeakersH.E. Eng. Salim Al Ozainah
Chairman & CEO
Dr. Khalid Biyari
Saudi Telecom Company
Group CEO Operations
Bocar A. BA
SAMENA Telecommunications Council
Head of Strategic Engagement
Digital Ecosystem is an emergent system of vastly complex cross-sectoral networks, service providers, “prosumers” and manufacturers, which is characterized by evolving technologies, services, applications and content, adaptive and innovative business models, interdependent stakeholder relationships and rapid pace of innovation and market change. Current legacy sector-specific regulatory regimes are no longer effective in the face of these continuously evolving features. To achieve governments’ digital visions and agendas of creating inclusive smart economies and societies, it is critical for Regulators and Operators to work together to define new regulatory paradigms that are (1) based on functionality (technology and market neutral), (2) market dynamics and (3) that are rethought from the ground up to ensure that they can meet the significant challenges of building the foundation for a sustainable, resilient and secure Digital Ecosystem.
This panel discussion will look into the following aspects of the evolving business of digital communications:
- Do we need to define markets anew? Do we need to part with currently imposed retail and wholesale regulation? Is regulation by design a possible way forward? How do you regulate with the speed of change and ensure that regulation does not impede local innovation and competition with global services? Does government have an increasing role to play in infrastructure provision / financing?
- Do we make way and allow for new and few large vertically integrated platforms to emerge cross-border that serve all of customers’ needs to allow for business models that rely on network effects and economies of scale?
- What are the policies and regulations needed to advance digital transformation? Is collective thinking for collaborative approaches a reliable approach?
-- Coffee Break --
VP Strategy Middle East Region
Manager, Middle East
Chief, Information Technology Sector
Dr. Andrew Arowojolu
Nowaf G. Almutiri
GM Corporate Analytics & Data
Saudi Telecom Company
VP Strategy Middle East Region
The way that data is currently regulated can lead to extra costs on networks, terrestrial or satellite, as well as loss of flexibility in providing services. Currently, each country in the region has its own “data sovereignty” rules that makes the exchange of customer data across borders complex and time consuming. The concept of e.g. a “Privacy Shield” agreement (as between the US and EU) does not exist in this region, and such an agreement is not in place for GCC members. This can lead to an impediment and slowing of digital transformation of operators’ networks and operational- and commercial activities. It can also lead to a reduction in benefits from evolving digital ecosystems (cost-reductions and efficiency gains) and hinder innovation. The full potential of digitalization could therefore be negatively impacted. Even when cross-border data flow is allowed on a “case by case” basis, it introduces delay and regulatory uncertainty, which could end up harming consumers’ access to most cost-effective services and emerging technologies such as blockchain. Addressing cross-border data flows through introducing cross-border data protection- and cybersecurity frameworks is a key enabler for digital transformation, including the use of cross-border cloud-based services, NFD and SDN.
This panel will discuss the following questions and various implications of emerging technologies and implications for data regulation:
- Appropriate trust models and cyber security are considered as important issues. What are industry stakeholders doing to take this work forward?
- How does the “data sovereignty” approach in Kuwait compare with other countries, and what would be the potential benefit to Kuwait if different approaches were adopted within Kuwait?
- The spirit of any new data laws in Kuwait (or any country) should be on providing more control, more transparency, and more meaningful choices for the end-user. What difficulties do telecom operators, satellite operators, technology providers, and regulators see in this regard?
- Given that new economic activity has started through the launch of new cryptocurrency in the GCC how are telecom industry stakeholders viewing the emergence of new forms of financial transactions and their impact on data regulation? Would Blockchain Technology be a driver for new revenues?
-- Lunch Break --
Arthur D. Little
Eng. Zarrar Khan
Dr. Mohamed Madkour
VP Wireless Network Marketing &
Head of Global Demand Generation
Head of Government Affairs
MEA & North Africa
Dr. Abdulhadi AbouAlmal
& Spectrum Management
Government & Industry
It is generally agreed that 5G carries tremendous potential in enabling and proliferating new digital services, which can empower societies and bring new efficiencies. This was reflected in the "Workshop on 5G and its Impact", recently held during AREGNET's 15th Annual Meeting in Abu Dhabi. While the great potential was highlighted during the workshop, it also emerged during the workshop that there is less clarity and consensus between regulators and the industry on the concrete and relevant 5G future use-cases and the related enablers that need to be in place to achieve the delivery and deployment of 5G services and technologies. Alongside the identification and definition of relevant 5G use cases, key enablers such as data regulation and harmonizing 5G developmental issues (among others) will have to be addressed as well. In consideration of these three key aspects, terrestrial players, space players, and government / regulatory bodies have an interlinked role to play and should prioritize ways of working together.
In this panel, those common strengths will be explored which are to be banked on later, and an understanding will be gained on where compromises, if at all required, are to be made.
Some questions that the panel will address include:
- What does the GCC 5G space look like and how are terrestrial and satellite players visualizing 5G's impact on their business and on the regional economies?
- What operational, regional, and environmental efficiencies can we hope to realize through 5G?
- What are the practical scenarios / relevant use-cases in which 5G could make the most substantial contributions? What new digital services would emerge?
- What are the key perspectives on how data will be regulated in the future as a key enabler of future services?
- What are the spectrum issues that need to be addressed to accelerate 5G deployment and harmonization of bands internationally, and the need for more spectrum and under what conditions, nationally?
-- Coffee Break --
Principal and Head
SpeakersHamoud Al Rumayan
Head of International Relations
Senior Systems Engineering Manager
Eng. Atef Helmy
Senior Advisor MEA & Africa
A recent ITU consultation on “Public Policy Considerations for OTTs” has highlighted the great disconnect between global cross-border OTT activities and national regulatory and economic frameworks and commercial activities. No consensus was achieved: While OTTs want to remain ungoverned, operators and (some) governments would like to see the creation of a level playing field, which requires all digital economy stakeholders to (1) adhere to the “same rules for the same services”, (2) to ensure that communication services are secure and safe to use, that data generated is protected and that consumers have a say in the way that their data is used, and (3) to contribute to local economies through investment, partnerships and e.g., taxes. SAMENA Council was invited to moderate the Panel Discussion at the ITU Physical Consultation Meeting on Public Policy Considerations for OTTs and to present in a summary statement SAMENA operators’ views and recommendations on this subject.
This panel is designed to create a dialogue that will seek answers to the following questions:
- How can OTTs be integrated into the fabric of national regulatory and economic frameworks in a meaningful way, so that they contribute a fair share to the local market going forward? Through review of broadband markets and market analysis? Through a broader definition of communications services, as proposed in the EU? Through general (e.g. corporate, VAT) or specific taxation (e.g. fees)? Through licensing? Through regular contributions to a USF-type fund? Through scraping of all old rules and replacing them by (light-touch) rules that apply to all digital ecosystem stakeholders equally, where relevant and proportionate? Through cooperation with operators (revenue-or cost-sharing models, investment into infrastructure etc.)?
- Can the subject of OTT Governance be approached in isolation (i.e., nationally) or does it require a regionally coordinated effort at the minimum to be impactful? Which areas should be dealt with at the international or regional level? Which institutions or forums would be most suitable?
- Do current OTT business models run counter to national markets? Is there a realistic prospect that national operators, through digital transformation in operations and networks (NFV, SDN. 5G, network slicing etc.), can adopt similar and viable business models that rely on economies of scale and network effects and the monetization of data, and become “cloud factories” or “regional data companies”? What are the key impediments at the moment that keep national operators from competing effectively with OTT services? What are the key impediments that slow or hinder digital transformation?
- Are new frameworks required, that separate the network from the service layer (functional or structural separation, national broadband networks)? Should governments fund broadband networks through subsidies? Would this still guarantee sufficient innovation?
Adel DarwishHead of Int. Relations
VIVA is the fastest-growing telecom operator in Kuwait. Launched in December 2008, VIVA makes things “More” for its customers by transforming communication, information and entertainment experiences. The company has rapidly established an unrivalled position in the market through its customer centric approach. VIVA's quest is to be the mobile brand of choice in Kuwait by being transparent, engaging, energetic and fulfilling. VIVA continues to take a considerable share of the market by offering an innovative range of best value products, services and content propositions; a state of the art, nationwide network and world-class service. VIVA offers internet speeds of more than 100 Mbps, due to the implementation of the most advanced fourth generation (4G LTE) network in Kuwait resulting in superior coverage, performance and reliability.
Kuwait Telecommunications Co, with the Brand name “VIVA Kuwait” was established as the third GSM Operator in Kuwait with Saudi Telecom (STC) as its Strategic Partner holding 51.8% stake in its capital.
Zain is a leading mobile telecommunications provider in the Middle East and North Africa. We began life in 1983 in Kuwait, as Mobile Telecommunications Company (MTC), the region’s first mobile operator, and commencing with the initiation of our expansion strategy in 2003, we grew rapidly in both the Middle East and Africa through the acquisition of several mobile operators across the region.
In September 2007, MTC rebranded to Zain in order to better reflect our growing status as a leading multi-national mobile service provider with global aspirations. Zain was thus adopted as the Group’s corporate master brand.
The Zain brand is at the heart of everything we do. It is a promise to our customers, it defines our vision and drives our focus within the company. Our brand was valued at over $2.3 billion by the Brand Finance Middle East Top 50 Brands annual report for 2017 that also ranked Zain as the second most powerful home-grown brand in the region with a brand rating of AA+.
We operate as Zain in Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, South Sudan; and in Lebanon as ‘touch’ (under a management contract). In Morocco, Zain has a 15.5% stake in ‘INWI’, through a joint venture. Today over 6,000 employees provide a comprehensive range of market-leading mobile voice and data services to a base of over 45.3 million active customers as of Sept 30, 2017.
Our strategy and vision is building a sustainable and innovative digital communications company serving consumers and enterprises with a rich and simple mobile experience. We are passionate about customer experience, operational effectiveness, business growth and the development of our people as well as human development everywhere.
Zain’s strategy is based on six transformational initiatives: Customer Experience; Operational Effectiveness; Value Management; B2B; Digital Frontier and Innovation, and Talent Development.
Listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange, there are no restrictions on Zain shares as the company’s capital is 100% free float and publicly traded. The largest shareholder is the Kuwait Investment Authority with a 24.6% stake as of June 30, 2017.
Huawei is a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider. Our aim is to enrich life and improve efficiency through a better connected world, acting as a responsible corporate citizen, innovative enabler for the information society, and collaborative contributor to the industry. Driven by customer-centric innovation and open partnerships, Huawei has established an end-to-end ICT solutions portfolio that gives customers competitive advantages in telecom and enterprise networks, devices and cloud computing. Huawei’s 170,000 employees worldwide are committed to creating maximum value for telecom operators, enterprises and consumers. Our innovative ICT solutions, products and services are used in more than 170 countries and regions, serving over one-third of the world’s population. Founded in 1987, Huawei is a private company fully owned by its employees.
Cisco is a global leader in technologies reshaping the way people connect, communicate and collaborate through intelligent networks and integrated product, services and software architectures. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in San Josè (Cal), Cisco has about 75,000 employees worldwide and in FY 2014 (ended July 26th, 2014) announced revenues of 47,1 billion dollars.
Cisco has been driving networking technologies evolution since their beginning: from the era of connectivity to the wave of Networked Economy, to the present era of Immersive Experiences, dominated by rich and multiple relations experienced through social media, online collaboration and widespread mobility and access to our digital world on a variety of devices.
Cisco success is based on key factors as: the ability to spot and anticipate new technology scenarios and market transition building innovative solutions, with a strong investment on highly specialized talented people and a constant R&D effort; a very articulate acquisition strategy; the dialogue with customers and with its global partner ecosystem, comprised of more than 70.000 companies all over the world.
This way Cisco became a leader in its core business – networking solutions – and in advanced technologies for online collaboration – from voice to data to video and TelePresence - security, mobility, data center and virtualization, application and storage networking.
Its history and its strengths make Cisco the ideal partner for companies, Governments, organizations and people while a new scenario emerges, driven by a mix of technology evolution, changing digital habits and networks: the Internet of Everything. It is a scenario where the connection between people, processes, data and things that we are already experiencing will grow at unprecedented levels, allowing unprecedented innovation opportunities in our business models and processes, in the communities we live in, in education, in the way we confront with the current economic, social and environmental challenges; all this will be possible thanks to smarter, open Networks that will manage the complexity of the interconnection while ensuring the highest security, flexibility and availability.
Event Coverage & Discussions
Held in Kuwait City in continuation of SAMENA Council's regional digital transformation-centric public and private-sector conferences, the Convergence to Kuwait conference engaged telecom operators, regulators, and technology providers to delve into issues that form the crux of what needs to be done within the digital communications industry to create a new future of ICT policy-making and regulation, to build a sustainable digital economy, and to foster sustainability of the complex, evolving digital ecosystem.
Under the global theme of "Creating New Advantages for Industry Stakeholders", Convergence to Kuwait 2017 was especially relevant to Kuwait's future ICT development plans, and thus was provided with patronage from the State of Kuwait’s Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA), with leading regional telecom operators, including STC, VIVA Kuwait, ZAIN Group, and renowned global technology companies, including CISCO and HUAWEI, taking active part in the discussions. The panel discussions focused on Regulatory Transformation for Fulfilling the Digital Agenda; Data Regulation in View of Emerging Cross-Border Technologies & Pan-National Communications; Stakeholder Preparation for the 5G World - Harmonizing Efforts in Terrestrial, Satellite, and Regulatory Co-operation; and Public Policy Considerations for OTTs as the key areas that will define the industry's focus for 2018 and beyond.
Convergence to Kuwait successfully built on to SAMENA Council's capacity-building and sector-development endeavors in collaboration with regional regulatory bodies. Convergence to Kuwait was also important to SAMENA Council's member operators, specifically VIVA Kuwait and Zain Kuwait, as both market leaders define a new digital future for the Kuwaiti market, and for the new regulatory body, CITRA, as it prepares to set new regulatory regimes more suited to Kuwait's digital ecosystem.
SAMENA Council's leadership has been very expressive about developing a regulatory environment for the telecommunication sector to cope with the revolution witnessed by the sector in light of digitization trends, and the need to approach the evolving digital future with fresh perspectives. As expressed by the Chairman of SAMENA Council's Board of Directors, Dr. Khaled Biyari, innovation in communications ecosystem is required, which, in significant parts, requires investment for new broadband infrastructure development.
Current legacy sector-specific regulatory regimes are no longer effective in the face of new, continuously evolving industry dynamics. To achieve governments’ digital visions and agendas of creating inclusive smart economies and societies, it is critical for Regulators and Operators to work together, to address issues such as cross-border data flows, which can have direct impact on the speed and realization of potential of digitization. Addressing cross-border data flows by introducing cross-border data protection- and cyber-security frameworks can dramatically impact digital transformation in the region.
It also remains a fact within the industry that there is less clarity and consensus between regulators and the industry on the concrete and relevant 5G future use-cases and the related enablers that need to be in place to achieve the delivery and deployment of 5G services and technologies. Alongside the identification and definition of relevant 5G use cases, key enablers such as data regulation and harmonizing 5G developmental issues (among others) have to be openly discussed and debated.
Another significant realization within the industry has been the growing understanding of a disconnect between global cross-border OTT activities and national regulatory and economic frameworks and commercial activities. This is especially applicable when considering that OTTs want to remain ungoverned whereas operators and (some) governments would like to see the creation of a level-playing field, which requires all digital economy stakeholders to adhere to the “same rules for the same services”, to ensure that communication services are secure and safe to use, and that data generated is protected and that consumers have a say in the way that their data is used, and that OTT players make direct contributions in the shape of direct investments in building local economies similar to how to telecom operators do.
With the above perspectives, necessary for creating new advantages for the stakeholders, specific discussion points raised by the speakers included following:
- The ICT sector in any given economy is no longer a vertical. All other sectors are dependent on the ICT sector, given ICT remains at the heart of all socio-economic transformational endeavors throughout the regional economies. As a whole, the industry needs to address four core areas: Digital Services and Digital Transformation, Data Regulation, Spectrum Management, and reduction in Taxation and Industry Fees.
- The new digital economy would have a volume of US$ 60 trillion in the next ten years, and this will have an impact on telecom operators, which are redefining their value propositions, rethinking their portfolios, remodeling their core business, and venturing into new growth business. All of these aspects are important to the digital transformation and the operators' central role in driving it.
- Stability and collaboration are critical requirements for the industry, which can be easily impacted with frequent executive replacements at regulators, changes in governments, and other institutional changes that create a sense of uncertainty. Thus for digital progress to continue, a sense of predictability must prevail.
- Disruptive businesses and approaches are taking stakeholders out of our comfort-zone. From the policy, regulatory and business perspectives, they need to be understood as they could be wake-up calls for us to do something different. We are moving to the asymmetrical business models and asymmetrical competition frameworks. Failing to address the ICT sector's requirements on time and without including all relevant stakeholders will impact future planning and the speed and sustainability of investment efforts.
- The digital ecosystem is demanding inclusion of all players and requires management through harmonization of endeavors across all fronts and areas. Maximizing efficiency from all stakeholders to solve digital-economy problems is central to future progress. This essentially means making progress on issues on prompt basis.
- Inter-sector coordination is required among various regulators of a country such as transportation ministry, Health care and other government entities.
- Operators to focus on defining all the use cases for 5G applications before deploying the 5G network. The region's spectrum needs should be understood better and the duration of licenses to operate on a spectrum should be made longer than 15 years for a good return of investment. In the world of data, spectrum requirements merit prioritized collaboration and common positions by operators as well as favorable consideration by regulators.
- Although we should keep the dialogue open at international level about policies around OTT, most of the effective debate can only happen at a national level. New business rules need to be written, including those relating to the regulation of global services that use national telecom networks.
- An important part of setting level playing fields with OTT is to reduce the regulatory burden on telecom operators. However, operators must continue their digital transformation and internal optimization, and should be more innovative in terms of their commercial strategies and define new collaboration efforts with OTT and better monetize big data. Regional national visions, including the New Kuwait vision, require new types of digital services, which will require collaborative innovation.
- Cyber security is already a big challenge, but will become ever more so given our entry into the realms of IoT and AI. There is much need for adopting globalized solutions and practices to counter this challenge as nations are now interdependent.
Speakers of Convergence to Kuwait included
Strategy& - Chady Smayra – Partner,
SAMENA Council - Dr. Khalid Biyari – Chairman,
CITRA - Waleed Al Qallaf,
"Zain - Scott Gegenheimer - Group CEO – Operations,
GSMA - Ammar Hamadien - Head of Strategic Engagement,
SAMENA Council - Bocar BA – CEO
AT Kearney Riyadh Derouiche - Senior Manager
Zain - Dr. Andrew Arowojolu - CRO – Zain
Huawei - Sami Nashwan -Vice President Strategy
STC - Nowaf Almutiri - GM Corporate Analytics & Data Governance
CITRA - Mohammad Altura Chief, Information Technology Sector
ADL - Andrea Faggiano – Partner
Huawei - Dr. Mohamed Madkour - VP Wireless Network Marketing & Head of Global Demand Generation
Ericsson - Ali Cheema - Government & Industry Relations
Etisalat - Dr. Abdulhadi AbouAlmal - Director / Technology Standardization & Spectrum Mgt
Viva Kuwait - Eng. Zarrar Khan – CTO
Qualcomm - Fabien Migneret -Head of Government Affairs MEA & North Africa
Analysys Mason - Johann Adjovi - Principal and Head
CISCO - Mohamed Bakry - Senior Systems Engineering Manager
Numbase - Ayman Jomaa – CEO
TRA Bahrain - Adel Darwish - Head of International Relations
Orange - Atef Helmy - Senior Advisor MEA & Africa
Convergence to Kuwait reiterated the need for preparedness and prompt actions for progressing forward in the new digital ecosystem, which must be made sustainable, and all stakeholders, including governments, regulators, ICT service providers, academia, research community, consumers and the civil society, should coordinate and collaborate together to create new advantages for each other, and for the end-user.
In the case of Kuwait, which has a new regulatory body, CEO of SAMENA Council, Mr. Bocar BA, believes there exists a great opportunity to lead the frontier of new regulatory paradigms by making forward-looking and flexible regulations that are designed from the ground up and which focus on local value-creation, and take a holistic approach across different economic sectors and digital stakeholders. SAMENA Council looks forward to working closely with CITRA and to supporting ICT visions across the GCC region in all ways possible, while representing the needs and issues of telecom operators and relevant industry stakeholders.