Zain Kuwait, the leading telecommunications company in the country, celebrates its 30th anniversary as the first mobile telecommunications company in the Middle East and Africa.
Proudly placing Kuwait on the world telecom map through its historic achievements over the years, Zain has never overlooked its social and national obligations playing a key role in driving a knowledge-based society and in the enhancement of the Kuwaiti identity.
To celebrate this special day, and as a token of genuine respect and gratitude to its customers for their loyalty during the past 30 years, Zain is offering free calls within the Zain family - the biggest family in Kuwait - all day on Saturday 22 June.
Since its establishment on 22 June 1983 by Amiri Decree, Zain formed a Kuwaiti shareholding company with KD25m capitalization. Ever since, Zain's main objective has been to provide the highest quality telecom services to its customers, which in the beginning comprised mainly of pager devices, wireless communications and faxes as well as supporting the community through various socially responsible and sustainable programs.
In 1986, Zain officially launched its commercial services, heralding the establishment of what would become a regional and cross-continental telecom giant, playing a key role in stimulating the Kuwaiti economy and placing the country on the world telecom map.
Later in 1986, Zain successfully introduced Extended Total Access Communications System (ETACS) technology in Kuwait, the first deployment of such a technology in the Middle East.
Like other Kuwaiti institutions, Zain faced a crisis during the invasion in 1990, and following the period of liberation, the company quickly resumed its deployment of telecommunications services, culminating in the launch of GSM
services in 1994.
The telecom industry was revolutionized by the introduction of GSM
which had a positive and profound impact on Zain. In 1999 another player entered the telecom sector, driving Zain to further its Zain's performance and customer offerings.
In 2001, a privatized Zain embarked on a program of international expansion, and in 2002 introduced its famous "3×3×3" expansion strategy, which would catapult it from a local operator with a customer base of 600 hundred thousand to a multi-national company that, at one point, served over 72 million across 23 country markets spread across the Middle East and Africa.
In 2002, Zain entered a partnership agreement with Vodafone, and within two years, had entered and commenced mobile operations in Jordan, Bahrain, Iraq, and Lebanon.
In 2005 the company entered the African continent through the acquisition of Celtel's 13 mobile operations in Sub-Saharan Africa for $3.4bn, covering 30% of the geographic area of Africa. It soon spread its footprint to a total of 16 countries in Africa as the company expanded to Nigeria (Africa's largest market), Madagascar and Ghana. In February 2006 the company acquired the remaining 61% stake in Sudan and in 2007, Zain was successful in winning the third mobile license in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the region's largest economy.
In 2007, Zain (previously then known as MTC) decided to undertake a complete rebranding exercise, to go hand in hand with its expansion policy and to unify the operations it had acquired, which would see all its subsidiary operating companies adopt the single Zain brand.
Zain quickly established itself as one of the most significant and highly reputable brands in the telecom industry, and according to a report published in 2012 by Brand Finance Global 500, an annual ranking of the most valuable brands in the world, Zain's brand was worth approximately $1.34bn in 2012. In May 2013, Zain was voted the top Arab brand across all industries through an online survey conducted by the Munich based Arab Society for Intellectual Property.
By 2010, Zain's Board of Directors had taken the strategic decision to focus on its highly cash generative Middle East and North Africa operations, investing in new growth opportunities in these markets. This decision led to the sale of 100% of Zain Africa to Bharti Airtel in June 2010 for $10.7bn.
In the aftermath and given the significant value created by this deal, Zain's Chairman Asaad Al Banwan commented at the time: "This is one of the most historical deals ever made with one of the largest telecom operators in the world, and there is no doubt that its acquisition of Zain Africa highlights the great value that we have succeeded in adding to the business in Africa and in turn to our shareholders over the years."
Upon the completion of the Zain Africa deal, Zain received numerous awards from renowned entities including "The Telecom Deal of the Year" award from TMT Finance Middle East; a premier regional telecom conference organizer.
Over the years, Zain received numerous awards and recognitions from prestigious establishments for matters ranging from the best mobile operator across the MENA region, for the launch of the world's first borderless roaming platform 'One Network' and for its mobile money services to name a few.
In alignment with its expansion and corporate strategy, Zain was one of the first technology companies to introduce 3G services in 2004, providing its customers faster internet access. The company's appetite for innovation has remained strong and the operator has launched of high-speed 4G LTE networks in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.
As a result of Zain's success story, prestigious educational institutes such as Harvard and Oxford are using it as a case study for their MBA programs.
For the past three decades Zain has positioned itself as a company that goes above and beyond to achieve maximum customer satisfaction and at the same time supporting the community through countless socially responsible and sustainable programs. These values remain firmly in place today as the company strives to reinforce our vision to create "A Wonderful World".