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Ooredoo: revolutionising the telecom sector of the Maldives

Fathmath Shaahunaz
12 January 2020, MVT 10:02
Participants of Ooredoo Colour Run 2018. PHOTO: OOREDOO MALDIVES
Fathmath Shaahunaz
12 January 2020, MVT 10:02

The telecommunications sector of the Maldives was in for an unprecedented revolution when Ooredoo, known then as Wataniya Telecom Maldives, took the country by storm in August 2005. At a time when Maldivians were resigned to paying a staggering MVR 500 per SIM card, the telecom giant whirled in with affordable rates and a full commitment to introducing the newest services available in the industry to the tiny island nation.

The company, which would later be rebranded to Ooredoo Maldives in December 2013, commenced its efforts to digitalise the Maldives early on. Within just a year of being licensed, it successfully provided network connections to 60 percent of the population, cultivating a positive reputation and yet, it was only the tip of the iceberg of advancements the company would bring about.

Although Ooredoo is the second mobile telecom licensee in the Maldives, the firm has enjoyed many firsts over the past 14 years. Ooredoo was the first to introduce 3G and 4G, the first to connect the archipelago with a nationwide 4G+ network via submarine cable, and now it is gearing up to bring the benefits of 5G to Maldivians.

The company’s Qatar-based parent Ooredoo Group made history in May 2018 by becoming the first operator to launch 5G in the world. Following this milestone, the Maldivian branch gave a taste of the highly anticipated service at the annual Ooredoo Color Run in November 2018, wowing thousands with a stunning demonstration of never-before-seen internet speeds of 1.8 Gbps.

Ooredoo provided network connections to 60% of the population during its first year of operations. PHOTO: AHMED MAANIS / BRANDS OF MALDIVES

While Ooredoo Maldives is yet to reveal a date to launch the 5G network, it became the first company of Ooredoo Group, out of the many branches operating in Asia, the Middle-East and North Africa, to receive the 5G spectrum license in February 2018. As tech-loving Maldivians eagerly await the new service, they can nonetheless rest assured that Ooredoo would always, without fail, make the newest innovations fresh off the global ICT market readily available across the archipelago.

In line with Ooredoo’s aim of establishing a Digital Maldives, the telecom giant has made several notable advancements in the sector. One such example is the ‘’Smart Campus’, a digital interactive classroom where students and teachers can connect from anywhere across the country, thus providing a solution for students hailing from the atolls who, otherwise, have little choice but to migrate to the capital city of Male’. Ooredoo extended digital classrooms to the prisons as well, providing inmates with the chance to study courses offered by Male’ colleges, thereby easing societal reintegration.

Ooredoo also offers special services to businesses and corporations, such as the handy ‘Work Group’, which allows employees within a firm to make calls or send texts free of charge. With its Digital Transformation Portfolio especially curated for Maldivian resorts, providing cloud-based solutions for both employees and clients, Ooredoo has further edged Maldives’ ever evolving tourism sector towards the digital world.

Among other such innovative platforms and mobile applications are the ‘My Ooredoo’ app, the digital engagement platform ‘Ooredoo Next’, ‘Magey Plan’ which allows customers to customise mobile plans, and the mobile wallet service ‘m-Faisaa’. The user-friendly services were quick to gain popularity, bringing smart solutions to customer fingertips, and with Ooredoo’s ongoing work to expand the services, the company’s customer base continues to grow.

Ooredoo continues to persevere in its endeavours to accomplish its mission and vision for the Maldives. PHOTO: AHMED MAANIS / BRANDS OF MALDIVES

The ambitious company is meeting 2019 head-on in its technological endeavours as well. Some of its most notable accomplishments include the introduction of e-SIMs to the Maldives, a virtually embedded equivalent of the currently used plastic SIM card, which enables Ooredoo customers to integrate up to nine different numbers on a single device. Ooredoo also rolled out HD Voice, a service enabled through Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) Services, via which customers can make calls over the company's 4G+ network instead of traditional channels.

The contributions of Ooredoo to Maldivian society further shine with the numerous initiatives under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme. One of the most prominent drives Ooredoo recently conducted was NIRU, the first accelerator programme in the Maldives. The 12-week programme gave businesses and young entrepreneurs a golden opportunity to promote and develop their innovations and creations on the global arena.

Expanding its CSR reach, Ooredoo also launched the ‘Smart City’ project in Hulhumale’, a collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Housing Development Corporation (HDC). The project aims to ensure that the new technological advances and smart solutions established in Hulhumale’, which is being developed as a ‘smart city’, would be inclusive and accessible to every resident of the reclaimed suburb. The company also carried out a ‘Digital Literacy Progam for Seniors’, aimed at familiarising the ageing population with modern technology.

In its mission “to provide world-class, innovative communication products and services” to achieve its vision of “enriching people’s lives”, Ooredoo has elevated the Maldives to greater heights, merging the everyday lives of people with the ever-evolving modern world. As the role of technology increases in the area of socioeconomic development, Ooredoo is resolute in advancing the digital industry, to ensure brighter tomorrows for the people of Maldives with more innovative technologies.

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