Riverbed, an American IT company that develops products to improve application performance across wide area networks (WANs), recently commissioned a study surveying 1,000 IT decision makers globally to explore the impact legacy and next-generation networks have on cloud adoption and digital transformation. Telecom Review discussed the findings with Charbel Khniesser, Riverbed's Regional Presales Director for Middle East, Turkey and North Africa.

Read more: Riverbed: SD-WAN essential for building next-generation networks

UAE telecom provider “du” (EITC) has over ten years’ experience dealing with multiple partners from various industries. Bundling everything together that those partners bring to the table means du can give its customers the best value for money and significantly improve processes, said du’s chief commercial officer, Fahad Al Hassawi, speaking to Telecom Review.

Read more: Partnerships benefit customers, says du CCO

Saudi Arabia is going through rapid transformation, according to Deemah AlYahya, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s National Digitization Unit (NDU), a government arm mandated to accelerate efforts to achieve Saudi Vision 2030 objectives, an initiative to diversify the kingdom’s economy away from oil dependence. This transformation, Ms. AlYahya said, will require collaboration, open data sharing and injecting innovation into citizens.

Read more: Saudi NDU CEO: 'We want to inject innovation into citizens'

Telecom Operators

Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces its consolidated financial results for the first quarter (Q1) ending 31 March 2017. Zain served 46.1 million customers at the end of the period, reflecting a 1.4% increase year-on-year (Y-o-Y).

Zain Group generated consolidated revenues of KD 247 million (USD 810 million) for the first quarter of 2017, down 11% compared to the same period in the previous year (Y-o-Y). EBITDA for the quarter reached KD 107 million (USD 352 million), down 13% Y-o-Y, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 43.4%. Net income for the quarter reached KD 38 million (USD 125 million), up 3% Y-o-Y reflecting Earnings Per Share of 10 Fils (USD 0.03).

For Q1, 2017, foreign currency translation impact, predominantly due to the 59% currency devaluation in Sudan from 6.4 in Q1, 2016 to 15.6 (SDG / USD), cost the company USD 148 million in revenue, USD 68 million in EBITDA and USD 32 million in net income.

Excluding the above-mentioned currency translation impact, Y-o-Y revenues would have grown by 4%, EBITDA by 3% and net income by 27%.

Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, Bader Al-Kharafi said: "Our transformation efforts are resulting in sound operational progress across several of our key markets. We are focused on managing unavoidable externalities as much as possible given the impact they are having on our overall key financial indicators, particularly the highly changeable environments we face with regard to the currency issues in Sudan, the continued social unrest in Iraq, and the intense price competition in both our home market of Kuwait and Iraq. We remain optimistic of the improving socio-economic conditions across all our markets."

Mr. Al-Kharafi continued: "We are pleased with the turnaround and improved performance of Zain Saudi Arabia, which recorded its first-ever net profit for the quarter and we will continue to grow this key market as the cost optimization program and network upgrades take effect. Sudan continues to grow due to the rollout of 4G services and the subsequent uptake of data services. We also anticipate improved performances in Iraq, where several tax and litigation issues have been resolved and the new leadership there can now focus on driving the business. Jordan continues to perform well maintaining its market leadership on all levels."