Muscat: FRiENDi Mobile, the third largest mobile service provider in Oman, is planning to launch 4G (fourth generation of mobile telecommunication technology) service within a year, besides setting up exclusive flagship stores in different regions to support customers and strengthen its presence across the country.
"We will find the right time to launch it. It will come within a year," Martin Glud, chief executive officer of FRiENDi, told journalists here on Monday. "We are meeting the (4G) capacity from Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel)."
He also noted that the migration of mobile customers from 2G to 3G technology in the country took some time due to time taken to procure compatible handsets and the gradual adoption of service.
Glud said plans are afoot to set up exclusive FRiENDi stores in different regions to serve customers better. "The rollout of fully branded FRiENDi stores will start with a flagship store in Assalah Tower in Al Ghubra where the company's head office is located." It will soon inaugurate the first own shop at Assalah Tower, which will serve customers from simple information about products and services to fully support if any issue happen to them.
Presently, the mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) has three stores and plans are afoot to open one more store in the region, taking the total number of stores to five before the year-end. "The plan is to have a geographical coverage all over the country — one branch each in every major city in each region," added Eng. Adnan Al Alawi, chief operating officer of FRiENDi Mobile.
FRiENDi Mobile, which started operation five years ago and the biggest MVNO in Oman now, will have a customer base of half a million soon. Presently, the company has around 70 per cent of the market share of a roughly 700,000 customers who subscribe to mobile reseller services.
Glud said the company is benefiting from population growth witnessing in the country. "The customers are using more and more of our services. We see that people use mobile phone as a primary access medium for Internet."
FRiENDi Mobile has moved its office to Assalah Towers in Al Ghubra recently. The new office shift is a strategic move to follow the company expansion and growth. The FRiENDi mobile brand has carved out an important segment in Oman and is one of the well established brands in the Sultanate.
"We have carefully planned this move to ensure a seamless transition and avoid any disruption in the service to our customers. Throughout the move, customers were able to experience the same excellent service they always have from us without any hassle or network issue. Highly accessible from major motorways and equipped with excellent meeting facilities, our new office will enhance our ability to showcase our services and innovative solutions," noted Al Alawi.
"The larger office will lay the platform for the company to be better positioned to expand for future growth and our new office will energise our team and enhance their creativity and customer service. Our previous office served us well for first years of the company but the new building fits better to the current magnitude of the company and will provide better space – for people and a modern infrastructure," Glud said, adding; "We can serve millions of customers in the future. We also have space o expand in all departments."
FRiENDi Mobile, which is part of Dubai-based Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa, has an option to bring Virgin Mobile to Oman. Virgin has started operation in Saudi Arabia recently. FRiENDi Mobile Malaysia, promoted by Virgin Mobile, has also started operation in Malaysia.
Well knowing for its continuous innovation and customer centricity, FRiENDi mobile was awarded with the prestigious 'customer service excellence 2013' in the telecom sector-MVNO. The award was a fitting recognition for FRiENDi's outstanding customer service that conforms to the highest international standards.