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Power Letters 2021: Erik Dudman Nielsen, group CEO, Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa

Power Letters 2021: Erik Dudman Nielsen, group CEO, Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa

At Virgin Mobile, digital has always been the core of its business proposition

While telecoms operators have historically been more resilient to economic uncertainties, the current pandemic is unprecedented in the impact it is having, especially with regards to
changing consumer behaviour. With the world looking more and more to digital solutions, customer demand and experiences are being reshaped at a rapid pace as exciting digital experiences become the new normal, and it is imperative for telecommunications operators to become digitally agile and responsive.

In order to keep up in this experience economy, telcos must now create compelling digital propositions that meet customer needs by simplifying and improving the experience and relationship that customers have with their brand. For example, one of the key USPs for Virgin Mobile is our unique home delivery service, whereby customers can order their SIM to be delivered directly to their door via our app. In the UAE, SIM activations at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic reached 85 per cent of the total activations across all channels and we are rolling out more e-commerce and delivery options at a rapid pace to meet this demand.

We are also experiencing a need to provide more digital propositions for our customers. We have expanded our fully-digital proposition in Saudi Arabia even further with the launch of some new services in partnership with Absher, aimed at promoting the use of eSIM to give a 100 per cent end-to-end digital service. The activation and verification process can now be done completely remotely, with no need to visit a physical location or be verified in person. We are also shortly launching an exciting new proposition in the UAE to meet the needs of this digital modern age.

Another major change we have experienced is the shifting attitude towards digital payments. Cash has traditionally reigned supreme in the Middle East, however the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has turned this on its head, and we are now seeing an increasing demand for electronic credit card payments. To meet this demand, we have recently introduced
this function for our Friendi customers in Oman and Saudi Arabia. We have also set up the first recurring payment option in the region with Apple Pay in the UAE.

The future of the telecommunications industry is about being current to the needs of consumers, and those needs are – and will be ever-more increasingly – digital, as consumers become more and more used to doing things digitally.

This shift in consumer behaviour is unlikely to be undone post Covid-19.

Going forward into 2021, mobile operators should now take charge as digital navigators moving to an agile digital business model. At Virgin Mobile, digital has always been the core
of our business proposition and we are proud to carry out our day-to-day processes through our digital infrastructure and offerings. This puts us in a perfect place to expand our
presence in the MENA region in 2021 with new launches and partnerships as we move into the post-Covid world.

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