Kuwait based Zain Group, a leading innovator of mobile communications in eight markets across the Middle East and Africa, scooped three major prizes at the prestigious 2015 Global Telecoms Business (GTB) Innovation Awards held in London last week. The gala event was attended by over 350 industry leaders from across the globe, all eager to take home a contested award.
The first of Zain’s three awards, the Consumer Innovation Award, was presented jointly to Zain Kuwait, Zain Jordan, and Zain Bahrain for the launch of Direct Operator Billing; which was launched in all three countries, with the judging panel recognizing Zain’s pioneering move to introduce a secure mobile payment solution to improve customer experience. Zain partnered with SLA Mobile to rollout Direct Operator Billing, which is also known as Carrier Billing, enabling Zain’s customers to pay for digital and virtual content from third-party providers by charging the transaction to their monthly mobile phone bill or using their prepaid credit. Zain Jordan’s Innovation Campus (ZINC) picked up the Business Service Innovation Award for the company’s initiative to enable aspiring entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into reality by scaling up and converting their plans into productive start-up projects. ZINC was inaugurated in October 2014 by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania of Jordan and is spread over 800 square meters of premises in King Hussein Business Park.
The Campus has more than 60 strategic partners and vendors, led by Coventry University, which supports and provides resources for mentoring youth and coaching start-ups. ZINC is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and holds regular workshops, events and initiatives in addition to providing teleconferencing facilities with 500 startups in Silicon Valley in the US, the largest business incubator in the world. Today, ZINC is the leading hub for all digital innovation being developed in the Kingdom and has attracted attention regionally as well as internationally, with the Prince of Wales having recently visited the campus on his tour of Jordan.
The third of Zain’s haul of awards saw Lebanon’s’touch’, managed by Zain, receive a Consumer Innovation Award for its Lebkeys service.It is a unique and user-friendly mobile app that carries a third-party Latin Arabic mobile keyboard in order to reduce the time it takes for people chatting in Arabic, by replacing letters that are not used when chatting in Latin Arabic (Q, P, X, V) and replacing them with the numbers they do use (3 for the Arabic letter ⁄, 2 for the letter √, 7 for the letter Õ, and 5 for the letter OE). Once downloaded, users install the keyboard and it becomes part of their phone’s pre-set keyboard menu, ready to use for anything they want to write on social media or text. The app is available to download for free on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Commenting on the three accolades, Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer said: “These awards recognize the considerable investment and commitment Zain places towards innovative and unique service development that enriches and empowers the lifestyles of our customers and the community at large. This is the essence of the Zain brand promise to create ‘A wonderful world’”. Gegenheimer continued: “Innovation is at the core of Zain’s strategic direction and it is important we continue to reinvent our business and develop new areas. I would like to express our appreciation to the judges of the Global Telecoms Business Innovation Awards, for bestowing these accolades.”
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