By Shane McGinley
Virgin, Qtel in talks about expansion plan for five-10 countries - Branson.
Virgin Mobile boss Sir Richard Branson and Qatar Telecom (Qtel) are planning to expand their partnership and are eyeing a number of new markets in the Middle East and Africa, the British entrepreneur has said.
"Qatar Mobile are very interested in expanding with us and we are in discussions with them about maybe five to 10 other countries," Branson said.
In May, Qtel and Branson launched Virgin Mobile in Qatar as part of a new brand partnership. Virgin Mobile Qatar will be the Gulf state’s first youth-focused mobile offering, the companies said in a statement.
As part of a range of new products launched, Virgin Mobile Qatar will offer a prepaid mobile service that combines the coverage of Qtel’s mobile network with the "brand experience delivered by Virgin Group".
Branson, chairman and founder of the Virgin Group of Companies, said: “Virgin Mobile is the fastest-growing and most successful business in Virgin’s history, with more than fifteen million customers around the world.
"Virgin Mobile Qatar is an entirely new type of mobile experience, which everybody can start enjoying from today. I am proud to have partnered with Qtel to make Virgin Mobile Qatar our first mobile launch in the Middle East, and I would like to invite the people of Qatar to come on in and enjoy the fun. We’re open!”
Dr Nasser Marafih, CEO of Qtel, added: “Our alliance will have an important impact here in Qatar, and we see strong potential for development as a multi-country brand franchise partnership across our regional and international footprint.
"For Qtel, this marks another important step forward as we develop our brand strategy and our overall business plan to become one of the top twenty global telecommunications operators by 2020.”
Virgin Mobile Qatar will offer one of the most advanced prepaid mobile services in the region. The service offers an all-day tariff and also provides 180-day airtime.
Ed Jennings, head of Virgin Mobile Qatar, said: “Virgin Mobile Qatar is a pioneering new kind of mobile service. We will be giving customers in Qatar what we know they have been calling for – a simple, honest, easy-to-use mobile experience with unbeatable coverage, great customer service, and a whole load of fun extras.”
Virgin Mobile Qatar will be the eighth Virgin Mobile branded operation in the world, following on from launches in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, France, South Africa, and India.