(Left to right) Zain KSA Chief Technology Officer Abdulrahman Al-Mufadda and Zain Group and Kuwait Chief Technology Officer Nawaf Al-Gharabally receiving the 5G award.

KUWAIT/DUBAI: Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in seven markets across the Middle East and Africa, announced that it has been presented with three awards at the prestigious SAMENA Council endorsed MEA Business Magazine Technology Achievement Awards 2021, in the categories of New Technology Leadership for 5G launches in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; Innovation Collaborations and Partnerships for the launch of Zain Esports; and Ground-breaking Products and Services for the ground-breaking Fintech solution 'Tamam' in Saudi Arabia.

The awards presentation that took place during GITEX 2021 in Dubai by leading regional business publication MEA Business in coordination with SAMENA Council, were part of a multi-sector recognition awards program aimed at highlighting significant technology achievements in the ICT industry.

SAMENA Telecommunications Council is a tri-regional, non-profit telecommunications association that embodies a community of South Asian and MENA region telecoms operators, manufacturers, regulatory authorities, and academia. The Council is driven by telecoms issues that operators face, determined in providing its advocacy expertise to help aid the incubation of novel approaches and ideas that would provide better means for the expansion and utilization of telecommunications in the region.

(Left to right) Zain KSA Chief Communications Officer Rayan Al-Turki and Zain Kuwait Chief Communications Officer Waleed Al-Khashti receiving the Esports award.

Commenting on the three awards, Nawaf Al-Gharabally, Zain Group Chief Technology Officer said, "Innovation is at the core of all Zain's efforts, seeking new business areas in line with its '4Sight' strategy and becoming a full digital services provider. These prestigious Awards recognize our efforts in areas that are extremely important to our ongoing growth and success."

Al-Gharabally continued, "We are strong proponents of the power of partnerships and collaboration, believing that working with like-minded organizations accelerates the achievement of our combined vision, and provides our customers with the best quality of service possible in a rapid time-frame. We shall endeavor to continue operating at the highest levels of efficiency, while delivering the best offerings and results to all our stakeholders."

5G technology award in Kuwait and KSA

Zain's pioneering 5G deployments in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and later Bahrain led to its recognition as the New Technology Leadership award recipient. An early adopter of 5G, in May 2019, Zain announced its 5G network in Kuwait was fully ready for the commercial launch of services. In October that year, Zain Saudi Arabia launched the largest 5G network in the region at the time, and third largest in the world.

Later in November 2019, Zain announced another regional 5G first as its operations in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia successfully launched 5G roaming across the MENA region, with download speeds reaching as high as 500 Mbps for both outbound and inbound roaming. This milestone 5G roaming agreement opened up countless opportunities to further enhance the mobile experience for Zain customers.

Zain Esports collaboration award

Zain was awarded the Innovative Collaborations and Partnerships prize for its Zain Esports collaboration with YaLLa Esports and other entities in the region's ecosystem such as Playhera in KSA and Al-Hub in Kuwait. Zain Esports was launched in December 2020, marking the beginning of a year-long calendar of large and exciting regional online esports tournaments comprised of multiple flagship events as well as smaller, regular community tournaments with attractive cash and devices prize pools.

Zain Esports is inspired by the competitive spirit of the 18,000 professional and amateur gamers who have played in the various tournaments held so far and the enormous social media following that have been garnered, which exceeds 35 million views on Zain's YouTube, Twitch and other social media channels.

Zain Esports' presence as a gaming powerhouse engaging with the gamers and youth across the region, is creating an ecosystem that reduces reliance on traditional telco services and opens up growing opportunities for fast growing and lucrative digital services and online gaming.

Tamam's ground-breaking fintech award in Saudi Arabia

With respect to ground-breaking Products and Services, Zain was awarded this prize for its Tamam financial technology (fintech) company in Saudi Arabia, which provides consumer micro-lending services. The fintech was established in 2019 with the goal to increase financial inclusion in the Kingdom in line with the Financial Sector Development Plan, part of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030.

Taman offers individuals requiring financing the opportunity to immediately avail an Islamic sharia-compliant loan without physically visiting a bank location. The end to-end sharia approved process takes minutes from the time a client downloads the app to the loan amount being advanced.

It should be noted that Tamam was the first entity in the Kingdom and the region to be licensed by a regulator to offer consumer micro-loans via a fully digital and seamless customer experience, through a mobile app. Fintech is a key focus in Zain Group's '4Sight' strategy aiming to be the first telco-led challenger bank capitalizing on its regional footprint, technology, trusted and highly valued brand, 50 million customer base, with the ultimate aim to provide mobile customers with additional and much needed digital financial services while increasing value for all stakeholders.

Zain views the opportunities presented by the digital economy in the Middle East as brimming with potential, as digital capabilities offer greater levels of innovation and direct positive impact on economic and social development of the communities it faithfully serves.