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Monty Mobile is a GSMA certified Open Connectivity SMS Hub and Roaming Broker, and a leading VAS provider in emerging markets. Monty Mobile has developed close working relationships with major mobile operators in an effort to help them push their profits and tap into new streams of revenue across global markets.

The company has enjoyed phenomenal growth in recent years, growing from one office and a handful of employees into 9 worldwide offices and over 200 employees. Its ability to be able to provide cutting-edge solutions that cater for all operators’ needs is what differentiates this pioneering company from other VAS, Roaming, and SMS brokers.

Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with the Founder and CEO of Monty Mobile, Mountasser Hachem, at RVS7. RVS7 is Monty Mobile’s exclusive flagship event that was held recently at The Address Hotel, in Dubai. Mr. Hachem, the dynamic and visionary leader, has contributed in guiding the company to unprecedented success in what is an ultra-competitive market.

The charismatic executive outlined in detail how their unique business model and strategic vision is what ultimately distinguishes Monty Mobile from its rivals. He further discussed the approach he feels operators need to implement in order to regain the revenues lost from the emergence of OTTs. He also explained how the company’s diversifying portfolio of solutions can help telecommunication operators fight back.

This is the 7th edition of Monty Mobile’s RVS conference and it continues to be a huge success. In your opinion, why is the event so successful, and can you tell us about the diversity of the operators in attendance?

We’ve got a really diverse mix of operators here in attendance at RVS7. We’ve got operators that are Tier 1 and we’ve got operators that are Tier 4. For example, we’ve got China Telecom who have 400m subscribers. We also cater for smaller operators too because it’s our strategy to serve all telecommunication operators regardless of their size. When we started out Monty Mobile, we specifically targeted smaller operators: that was our strategic approach.

Upon expanding, we gained some notoriety in the market in a positive way, and we were able to secure partnerships with some major players such as Etisalat, Zain and Orange. To have big operations is not only more challenging in terms of the technical requirements needed, but it is also challenging from a financial perspective. For example, to pre-pay a company like 9Mobile is a challenge.

Dubai is a very attractive place to host an event, but we can’t say that RVS is an exclusively Middle East conference, because of the diversity of our clients here in attendance. We’ve got representation from almost every major market here.

It’s fantastic for us to have representation from the South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East as they’re all huge markets that have a lot of potential. In Africa, you’ve got 53 countries dependent economically on mobile services in their day to day activities. Mobile services have become one of the pillars driving the economies in Africa.

Our business model is designed around taking risks in emerging markets. We’re delighted with our position in the market and the phenomenal growth we’ve enjoyed, and the operators that are in attendance here at RVS reinforce and solidify our importance in this market.

Monty Mobile has enjoyed phenomenal success since its inception and is an industry leader in some major markets such as South East Asia, Middle East and Africa. What is it that differentiates Monty Mobile from its competitors?

We learned our business through our customers, their needs, and their markets. We built all the solutions that we’re introducing to the market in-house. We had to try several times before creating the right mix, technically and commercially. We started from scratch and went through all stages of the assurance and this knowledge management that we gained shows through our products. It’s part of our DNA. We built the DNA by ourselves from the infrastructure to the technical solution to the building up of our entire solution portfolio.

We went through the rejection of being told you’re too small for us, to then being accepted by major players in the industry. We’ve now earned the respect of those entities, and we’re now firmly established as a key player in this industry and recognized for the incredible solutions and services we can offer operators.

We’re an example of a typical entrepreneurial case study. We failed, and we learned! Now we’re riding the success train and have visibility in a lot of key markets and have developed relationships with some key operators. This is what I think ultimately differentiates us from our competitors. We’ve grown exponentially since we were established, and today our offices are in UK, Lebanon, UAE, India, Indonesia, Germany, France, Croatia and Fiji. So we’ve truly become a global player and this is reflected by the fact that we’re currently preparing our IPO, which we hope will be ready by 2022 or maybe 2023.

Operators have seen their traditional business models decimated by the rise of OTTs, and they need to create new revenue streams to offset these losses. How are the solutions provided by Monty Mobile helping operators fight back?

The message that we’re preaching to operators and what we’re trying to convince them to do is become an advertising medium. We see operators like Etisalat, du and Vodafone as being media for advertising. We’re launching a program called M-Rewards. When a call is initiated, the caller usually spends an average of 10 seconds listening to the ringing tone while waiting for his call to connect. 

M-Rewards uses the dead time to play an audio advertisement that can be as short as 7 seconds - and subscribers who opt in to the service will benefit from collecting reward points each time the ads are heard. Subscribers can redeem these points for other services such as free SMS, free calls and free data. M-rewards is not only a premium platform for advertisers to achieve the widest reach, but also merges a loyalty program that allows mobile operators to reward their loyal subscribers while gaining huge revenues.

Operators have all this data that is being used by Facebook and Google, so they should become a Facebook or a Google and become an OTT player too. Operators should utilize the data they have. Operators have already invested in the infrastructure and instead of selling pipes with no value, create the value in it and become a major player in targeted advertising. There has been some resistance from some players because they’re afraid of the regulatory side.

Operators can follow the same model as OTTs: you simply apply GDPR and you obtain consent. Google and Facebook provide us with wonderful services for FREE in exchange for data, and communication service providers can do the exact same thing.

The mindset and mentality of operators has to change and that’s what we’re trying to do in terms of providing them with solutions that can help them make that transition.