Zain CEO pledges to protect staff from global turmoil

Telecoms chief says 'dynamic approach' will be adopted to deal with slowdown.

Staff working for Kuwait telecoms giant Zain will be protected from the impact of the global economic crisis, its CEO Khalid al-Hajri has announced.

He said that Zain had been affected by the financial slowdown but added that the company had a "dynamic approach" to dealing with it.

Employees would not suffer the consequences of the crisis and it could be dealt with by decreasing other sources of spending, he said in an interview with the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

He also revealed that as part of new services to customers in 2009, local and international calls received on mobile phones would be free.

Providing free services would affect Zain's earnings but it was part of the company's plans to attract more clients, he said.

Hajri added that the company's local customer base had reached 1.8 million, accounting for about 56-57 percent of the local market.

Zain operates in 22 countries with more than 15,000 employees providing a range of mobile voice and data services to more than 50 million customers as of June 30, 2008.

Hajri also backed plans for the formation of a telecoms authority in Kuwait - similar to other Gulf states - to organise telecommunications and IT services.

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