UAE’s Etisalat and Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Telecom (STC) have topped the list of the most valuable telecom brands in the MEA region, just weeks following STC’s highest-ever annual revenue for the past decade.
According to Brand Finance Telecoms 150 2021 report, STC’s brand value increased 14 percent to $9.2 billion, jumping five places to 13th on the report’s annual listings. The report adds that STC has recently doubled the capacity of its network, without compromising on customer service – something the brand prides itself on.
The Saudi company is playing a crucial part in KSA’s Vision 2030 – a strategic framework to diversity the economy away from oil – through establishing a digital hub for the whole region, to accommodate future growth in the IT sector, Brand Finance highlighted.
“STC’s brand has evolved and grown following its successful Masterbrand refresh and extension into Kuwait and Bahrain at the beginning of last year. The company continues to execute its DARE strategy successfully and has strengthened its positioning as a company that enables digital life. Its commitment to digital transformation has been shown with STC pay, recognized as the first tech unicorn in Saudi Arabia,” David Haigh, CEO, Brand Finance commented in a statement.
Brand Finance evaluates the relative strength of brands, based on factors such as marketing investment, customer perceptions, staff satisfaction, and corporate reputation. Alongside revenue forecasts, brand strength is a crucial driver of brand value.
In 2020, total revenues reached $15.72 billion, an increase of 8.43 percent; as a result, operating profit reached $3.41 billion, an increase of 2.69 percent.
According to the Kingdom’s Communications and Information Technology Commission, STC had the highest mobile download speed in Saudi Arabia, with a 5G network that reaches a speed of 342.35 megabytes per second earlier this month.
STC has deployed its 5G network in more than 47 cities across the Kingdom, with plans to increase this figure to 71 in the next phase of its expansion.
In parallel, Etisalat has been crowned the MEA’s strongest telecoms brand, with a Brand Strength Index (BSI) score of 87.4 out of 100 and a corresponding AAA brand strength rating – the only brand in the region to achieve this rating.
The UAE-based company has recently broken the $11 billion mark as it turns its sights on the global stage.
Etisalat Group, the most valuable telecoms portfolio in the region which has recently broken the $11 billion mark, is turning its sights on transforming into a truly global player.
“When COVID struck in 2020, Etisalat led from the front ensuring business continuity, robust e-governance, enablement of smart cities and remote learning, to help drive the digital future of the UAE. Staying relevant and enabling the nation with the fastest network on the planet, Etisalat has earned its place as the region’s Strongest Brand, ready to deliver on its ethos of Together Matters as the UAE welcomes the world at Expo 2021,” Haigh noted.
On a global basis, Verizon claimed the top spot for the second year in a row, increasing valuation percent to $68.9 billion.
Out of the seven Middle Eastern brands, Etisalat, Mobily, Ooredoo and STC, have climbed the ranks this year. Mobily is the fastest growing telco brand in the region with a 17 percent brand value growth, jumping 10 places in the ranking to 75th position.
“Mobily (brand value US$1.3 billion), has strengthened its business and brand over the last three years by positioning the brand as the everyday hero. It has attained the highest Brand Strength Index score in its history at 75.4 out of 100 (brand strength rating AA+) and is in a strong position to capture the next wave of growth by seizing opportunities in the digital economy,” the report pointed out.