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VIVA is now growing, without the pains

Interview - October 24, 2013
In only five years, things have turned around for the newest telecom operator in Kuwait, now a leading national brand
The newest telecom operator on the Kuwaiti scene, VIVA Telecom began operations in 2008. Last year the company leaped out of the red and posted a profit of more than KD2.9 million (£6.4 million), while increasing its customer base by 60 per cent to 1.6 million – making it the fastest-growing telecoms provider in Kuwait. CEO Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Badran, native of Saudi Arabia, shares his view on VIVA’s turnaround as well as the company’s strong CSR programmes.
What is your secret to the success achieved in 2012?

I think the key driver of VIVA’s success was the change in the company’s overall strategy to focus on differentiating VIVA from its competitors. This is achieved by offering a differentiated customer experience, products and services, and by continuously developing our communications and level of innovation. From that point on, we have become the telecom operator we aspire to be. VIVA is now one of the leading brands in Kuwait, based on one of the latest brand equity studies. 
I would also have to say our customer-centric approach has allowed us to shine.  We were the first operator in Kuwait to wave the landline fees, to launch the iPhone and the new 4G LTE network. We were the first to partner with Manchester United, and took it forward by launching the Manchester United Soccer School in Kuwait – a first in the country, giving young talents the opportunity to pursue their soccer dreams. 
Youth, technology, health, environment and sports are main areas in which our support is continuous. 
How is VIVA supporting Kuwait’s youth?

VIVA has pledged to support and empower youth through different initiatives, and not only from a CSR perspective but also from a business perspective. Some of these initiatives include VIVA’s Small to Big trip, where it sponsored 12 young Kuwaiti entrepreneurs on a trip to King’s College – London to attend specified management courses as a means to help the brightest business minds take the next step in becoming business owners. 
Also, we have the Walk-In Interviews which VIVA organises on an annual basis, where it welcomes young Kuwaiti professionals to be interviewed by its HR team to identify those with thriving potential, and provide them with the opportunity to pursue a career in the telecom sector, and more importantly, in the private sector, supporting both Kuwait’s youth, and the government’s employment policy. 
We have many more ongoing activities and initiatives all targeting Kuwaiti society, and we aim to continue these in years to come.  
What are your priorities for 2014?

Our priority is to maintain the positive energy and thrust that has helped VIVA reach the position it enjoys today, and with no doubt, bring new and exceptional products and services to the table. 
Our priorities for 2014 will remain to be those that have ranked the top on our list; our customers, the community and brining to them all that is new in the world of technology, and facilitating that process by growing closer to our customers by expanding our presence across the country. 
Also, with plans of expansion, to invest in our networks and our people, with mobile number portability (MNP) and with the opportunities we are given every year, I foresee 2014 to be a whole new experience for VIVA. We have a lot of plans in the pipeline.