Zain Kuwait Case Study


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General
There are three questions in this TMA at the end of this case study. You should answer them all. You should notice the mark allocations for each question and allocate your effort accordingly. Appropriate use of diagrams is expected throughout the TMA.
Read the following case and then answer all the questions that follow.
Zain Kuwait’s Mobile Broadband Service
About Zain Kuwait
Established in 1983, Zain Kuwait (formerly known as MTC) is the founding entity of the Zain Group. After a successful expansion and acquisition strategy, Zain grew from one entity supporting 600,000 subscribers to a regional network of 24 mobile operators, serving more than 71 million subscribers across the Middle East. And with ambitions to serve 150 million subscribers and be in the world’s top 10 mobile companies, we are only seeing the beginning of Zain’s success story. Following its acquisition by Bharti Airtel, Zain now operates in eight countries across the Middle East and North Africa and serves 34 million customers.
As the first mobile operator to launch in the Middle East, Zain Kuwait has pioneered telecommunications in the region. In 1994 it was one of the first to launch a GSM network and shortly after was the first in the region to offer GSM prepaid mobile services to its customers.
Its commitment to providing good value for its subscribers, along with advanced services and applications, has helped it to secure one million prepaid subscribers within four years of launching. Today, Zain Kuwait has more than 1.8 million subscribers, owning 49 per cent of the market share in Kuwait and is the crown jewel of the Zain empire.
Mobile Internet boom hits the Middle East
The allocation of 3G licenses and subsequent launch of 3G services by Zain Kuwait provided a better user experience, greater value and mobile option to Kuwaitis as opposed to the fixed line Internet services currently available.
The launch in 2006 opened the flood gates of demand for Internet access that continues to flourish today.
Analyst firm Pyramid Research believes the growth rate of mobile Internet in the Middle East and Africa will be faster than any other region in the world.
In fact, while the region contributed only three per cent of global mobile data revenue in 2008, it projects that the region will double its share of global mobile data revenue by 2014 due to the growing popularity of mobile broadband in the region.
Following the successful launch of Kuwait’s first national wireless broadband service in 2006, Zain was looking for opportunities to bring mobile Internet connectivity to all of its subscribers in order to maximize its data revenues. In doing so, it identified its youth, Arab expatriates, and inbound roaming markets as three key groups that were demanding access to mobile Internet services but wanted them with more flexibility and convenience than monthly contracts provided. And with 70 per cent of its subscriber base being prepaid, Zain Kuwait was eager to get the services in the hands of its prepaid customers quickly.
Bringing Kuwait its first prepaid mobile Internet services
For Zain Kuwait, a key priority of extending mobile Internet services to its prepaid customers was to ensure that these services had the same flexibility and cost control that its prepaid customers were accustomed to. It had learned the lessons of earlier deployments where confusion over rates and charges left subscribers wary of trying new services, or resulted in situations where “bill shock” occurred.
Lucas Skoczkowski, CEO of Redknee explains:
“Launching the nation’s first prepaid mobile Internet services meant that it was imperative to ensure that its reputation for providing innovative offers and services was upheld. Part of the formula was to ensure that its customers had the control, flexibility and transparency over the services they were using and were told of costs that would be incurred.”
Partnering with Zain since 2005, Redknee advised that in order to bring its subscribers the enhanced customer experience it wanted, Zain Kuwait would need to change its business model, which flipped the old world of pricing in „bits and bytes‟ on its head, and instead brought pricing into relevant packages that subscribers could easily understand and trust.
Zain Kuwait selected Redknee’s data monetization solution to fulfill these needs. Redknee’s real-time rating and charging platform is designed to enable flexible, tiered services and dynamic subscriber controls. With Redknee, Zain understands how its services are being used and how best to rate and charge for them – increasing opportunities to monetize and better manage its data services and network assets. For Zain’s customers, it eliminates any uncertainty around data charges of services, such as mobile broadband, and gives them the ultimate control over their mobile experience.
Real-time rating and charging engine powers enhanced customer experiences
Launched in 2008, Zain Kuwait’s e-GO2GO plug-and-play USB device gives its prepaid customers instant access to broadband services of up to 7.2 Mbps. When users connect to the Internet they are automatically directed to the e-GO dashboard where they gain control of their bundles, features and pricing options.
Redknee’s intelligent subscriber-centric solution enables Zain Kuwait to design packages that resonate with its customers.
Instead of building packages in terms of bits and bytes, Zain Kuwait has designed packages to match the real, everyday usage patterns of its different target markets. For its customers, it gives them the pricing simplicity, flexibility and control to match their service package to their immediate needs by selecting a „daily‟ package, or to allow for future usage, by selecting a weekly or monthly package. This pricing transparency gives users better clarity to the charges they will incur, as opposed to billing based on bytes, and avoids customers from experiencing a big bill at the end of the month (also known as „Bill Shock‟) or quickly depleting their prepaid account.
The real-time aspects that Redknee’s NGRC brings to Kuwait’s e-GO2GO service mean that users have full visibility over the services they use. Through the e-GO web portal, users can track their usage and decide whether they need to top up their credit or regulate their usage.
In addition, as the subscription expires, customers are automatically redirected to the e-GO2GO web portal to give them the option to top up their account to ensure uninterrupted service. e-GO2GO uses Zain’s established eeZee recharge vouchers, providing familiarity and accessibility for new users to the service. The dashboard’s self-care capabilities also give users the ability to set their own spending limits and authorize temporary upgrades to suit their daily or weekly needs.
For Zain Kuwait, the real-time analysis of usage also enables the operator to quickly recognize customer trends and adopt new package plans as needed.
The sky is the limit: Since its launch in 2008, the uptake of its prepaid mobile broadband services has exceeded Zain Kuwait’s original projections and has helped to position Zain as the nation’s number one provider of Internet services.
As well as successfully targeting the youth, expatriate and inbound roaming markets, the features and pricing options have proven attractive to home users and mobile broadband users traditionally tethered to laptops through fixed DSL connections.
In addition, the popular promotions are encouraging Kuwaitis to abandon their landline dial-up connections in favor of mobile broadband connectivity so that they can have Internet connectivity anywhere, anytime.
Zain is also seeing postpaid subscribers using the service as they are attracted by the ability to have more control over their growing data costs.
In addition, Redknee’s platform has paved the way for Zain Kuwait to launch an in-flight mobile service in conjunction with Watanyia Airways. This service enables Zain Kuwait customers to have access to international roaming GSM, GRPS, Internet, e-mail and Blackberry services while they are in the air.
“The in-flight roaming service underpins how Zain is pushing the boundaries of how customer service and offerings can be provided to its customers. Standing by the principles of providing an enhanced customer experience further enhanced the success of the service launch,” adds Skoczkowski.
Redknee originally worked alongside Zain Kuwait’s legacy billing system to address its immediate data charging needs quickly and cost effectively. But today, all of Zain Kuwait’s e-GO2GO prepaid and postpaid subscribers flow through Redknee’s rating and charging platform. This approach provides every subscriber with real-time access to account cost controls and usage spending alerts, while improving the subscriber experience and reducing churn. In 2009, Zain Kuwait experienced a phenomenal 500 per cent growth rate in mobile data on its network and Redknee continues to support its capacity needs as the operator goes from strength to strength.
“Zain Kuwait is truly pioneering the way of how high quality, high revenue services can be provided to prepaid customers. Zain is showing that with real-time rating and charging platforms, prepaid customers can now have access to exciting and innovative services without the commitment of monthly contracts,” says Skoczkowski.

Questions:
1. Critique the relevance and suitability of hard or soft approach in highlighting issues faced by ZAIN. (20% marks)
2. Investigate further suitable approaches and tools that could be used to investigate, illustrate and make recommendation to solving problems. Please consult all your course materials and undertake relevant literature search. (20% marks)

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