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Saudi Arabia’s incumbent and largest telco, STC, has launched a standalone digital-only mobile service called “Jawwy,” designed to strengthen the operator’s position in the country’s large and tech-savvy youth market.

Jawwy represents a fresh approach to the youth market

Jawwy was launched in 2Q16. Its name translates as “my atmosphere” or “my scene” in Arabic. The service allows customers to assemble, buy, and manage their package via a mobile app or online. Jawwy users can also share credit and data across multiple devices.

Jawwy is aimed primarily at Saudi Arabia’s youth market, which is substantial. According to STC, 65% of the Saudi population is aged under 30 and increasingly sophisticated in its use of technology and expectations of digital services. STC Group CEO Khaled Biyari has said in a statement that Saudi millennials, in common with their peers around the world “live in an always-on, real-time world and they expect companies to cater to them in the same way.”

STC decided that it should offer something new to Saudi Arabia’s youth market. Until recently, Saudi Arabia’s second operator, Mobily, was doing a better job than STC at targeting the youth market, through the youth-focused sub-brand and service Fallah, which has been in place for several years. The MVNO Virgin Mobile Saudi Arabia, which launched services in late 2014 and is hosted on the STC network, said recently that it had reached the two-million mark for subscribers. Such strong progress by Virgin might have pushed STC to make its own move in the youth market.

The Jawwy service is based on a system provided by California-based ItsOn. Since 2013, ItsOn has created a cloud-based system that allows telcos to quickly and easily create new service packages and offer them to customers without going through the lengthy and complex process of integrating the packages into telco IT systems, such as those for OSS and BSS. Additionally, the service packages created using the ItsOn system can be offered to customers via a self-service portal. ItsOn’s client list includes Sprint and Virgin Mobile in the US, as well as Telefonica Mexico and MEA-focused MTN.

STC has set Jawwy up as a standalone digital unit with its own staff and a CEO, Subhra Das, who previously held senior management roles at UAE operator du and at Ooredoo Oman. As a standalone unit, Jawwy should be able to act like a fast-moving start-up rather than a slow-moving incumbent telco. Jawwy is not expected to compete on price, but it will aim to stand out through the flexibility of its offering and the facility it provides to customers for managing the service through digital channels.

It is significant that STC has taken action to address Saudi Arabia’s new generation, but what is remarkable – given that STC is a fairly staid company – is that by linking up with ItsOn, it has come up with such a fresh proposition.


Further reading

Middle East Market Outlook, 2Q16, TE0015-000377 (April 2016)

Saudi Arabia Update, March 2016, TE0015-000374 (May 2016)

On the Radar: ItsOn provides value-add marketing and self-service tools for telcos, IT0012-000156 (March 2016)

STC Update, September 2015, TE0015-000338 (September 2015)


Matthew Reed, Practice Leader, Middle East and Africa

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