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MEET THE PEOPLE Ashraf Shrouf, Managing Partner, 3Anet

meet-ashraf-shrouf

Ashraf Shrouf, Managing Partner, 3Anet brings 20-plus years of experience in the operational and executive management of telecommunications technologies and services in MENA and GCC regions.

What does you company do?

3Anet is a leading mobile billing aggregator enabling other companies to take advantage of its DCB (Direct Carrier Billing) connectivity with telco operators in MENA region.

Over the past 20+ years, 3Anet has built a strong track record of success by providing first-class services to its partners, including service providers and MNOs, leveraging its team’s expertise and passion.

What sectors does your business operate in ?

  • Payments
  • Value added services
  • Content

Which countries or regions do you feel represent the greatest opportunity for your telemedia services in 2024?

Middle East and Gulf regions

PAYMENTS

Which content and/or applications do you see being the most likely to benefit from telemedia billing technologies?

Offering applications and content using the cutting-edge technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) were the best assets.

Do you think that Direct Carrier Billing can become mainstream and in which markets?

Yes, for sure, especially in Gulf region and more specifically in Saudi Arabia.

How do you balance payment flows, operator relationships and customer satisfaction?

As an aggregator, our focus is on serving three key customers – operators, merchants, and end-users. We believe in streamlining payment flows through collaboration with operators to ensure satisfaction for the end-user.

What are the key drivers and inhibitors for growth?

A robust relationship with customers, coupled with strategic short and long-term planning, constitutes the primary drivers for growth.

What major factors do you think will impact the future development of mobile payments and which other payment options represent the biggest threat?

Aligning strategies and plans with operators and service providers consistently influences the future development of mobile payments.

I hold the belief that direct banking payments will always possess the potential to surpass digital payment methods if it is designed in simple flows for the end users.

How likely is it that crypto currencies will become popular telemedia/mobile payment mechanisms for premium content, services and applications?

It will take some time for crypto currencies to gain a significant share of the payment market in the MENA region, especially as governments still consider it an illegal payment method.

VALUE ADDED SERVICES

Which specific VAS verticals are you expecting to have a great year and why?

VAS categories and sectors should be enhanced and go beyond the basic services provided by operators to have great future, and I think the below verticals has an opportunity in the VAS future:

  • Mobile Commerce (mCommerce)
  • Health Services
  • Education Services
  • IoT (Internet of Things) Services

How might you answer that same question in 5 years time?

Absolutely, VAS has indeed undergone significant transformations in the past five years, and the trajectory suggests further evolution in the next five years. The dynamic nature of technology and consumer expectations contributes to the continuous adaptation of VAS. Looking ahead, it’s plausible that VAS will evolve into a broader concept, encompassing a comprehensive array of digital services that touch various aspects of our digitalized lives.

What’s the most effective business model for an mVAS customer acquisition strategy?

The most effective business model for an mVAS customer acquisition strategy depends on various factors, including the target audience, the nature of the services, and the market conditions, so it is challenging to consider a specific model as the best one.

In the next 12 months what key technical developments or innovations do you feel will have the most positive impact on mCommerce (VAS / mobile payments / marketing)?

There are many potential key innovations that might positively impact the VAS business in the coming months like: Enhanced AI and Machine Learning Integration, but we need to remember that the technology landscape is dynamic, and unforeseen innovations may also shape the VAS business in the coming months.

Your words of wisdom: On a more personal level, what is the most inspiring piece of advice that has seen you through a life in business to this day and who gave that advice to you?

That is a powerful and timeless piece of advice from Steve Jobs. The notion of pursuing what you love and finding genuine satisfaction in your work resonates with many, as it can contribute significantly to personal fulfilment and long-term success.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”