The pandemic has changed the very nature of the global business ecosystem and has left us with an economic future that has never been more ambiguous. Telcos have learned a great deal from the challenges that were brought about by the pandemic and have placed an even greater emphasis on digital transpormation and innovation.

Read more: Mondia Group’s Simon Rahman discusses global pandemic, innovation and industry trends

Zain KSA has been labelled as the Kingdom’s preferred digital services provider following the great achievements the operator has made throughout its journey. In an exclusive interview with Eng. Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Aldeghaither, CEO, Zain KSA, Telecom Review delved into the operator’s main accomplishments that encompass most importantly having the fourth largest 5G network in the world and the largest in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Read more: Zain KSA empowering the Kingdom’s digital journey

It is no surprise that the industry was dealt an immense blow as soon as COVID-19 hit. Operators and vendors alike, across the world, have had to deal with (or are currently dealing with) an immense burden due to widespread lockdowns and the rise in remote working and learning. This has caused a great deal of pressure on networks everywhere. However, companies have been quick to realize that this may just be the right time to leverage emerging technologies to ensure business continuity and minimize the disruption of business operations.

Read more: Nokia MEA’s CTO talks about 5G, AI, ML and post-pandemic digital transformation

COVID-19 updates
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Huawei CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei has acknowledged the company's sales are suffering due to the spread of the coronavirus. However, in an interview he said the company had resumed production in China and was spending heavily on R&D to ensure it maintains its technological lead. 

Huawei is boosting its 2020 investment on research and development to $20 billion as it prepares for a significantly increased demand for network infrastructure and services.

With the coronavirus outbreak effectively bringing more than one-third of the world’s population to a standstill, Huawei is eyeing opportunities for growth once the pandemic ends. The spike in investment represents nearly a 41% increase from Huawei’s previous guidance for the year.

Ren declined to share how much COVID-19 will impact Huawei’s financial performance this year, but he claims relatively little production time was lost during China’s period of lockdown. He did, however, admit that the pandemic will likely take a toll on this year’s financial results and the company has lowered its targets as a result.

Despite the many challenges it’s facing, Huawei has sustained growth. The company beat its revenue projections for 2019 by 22%, ending the year with $122 billion in revenue. The company reported $107 billion in revenue in 2018.

“That simply proves the trust, the kind of trust that our customers place in Huawei — the kind of trust that has not been affected by the U.S. campaign against Huawei,” Ren said.

More than 90 per cent of its 150,000 domestic employees are back at work, with some of its operations resuming in early February after a government ruling allowed certain critical industries to restart despite a wider shutdown.

Ren insisted the outbreak hasn’t dented its efforts to develop its own technologies. The recent release of the P40 series confirms Huawei’s firm position in the market.

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