Officially launched in October 2019, BNET will now serve as Bahrain’s National Broadband Network, providing high-speed services to all licensed operators in the Kingdom as a wholesale provider.
Formerly serving from 2017 to 2019 as CEO of Bahrain’s largest telecoms operator, from which BNET was split off, Mohamed Bubashait now leads as the CEO for the backbone of Bahrain’s ICT ambitions, not only serving its 1.2 million inhabitants, but also providing internet services directly to businesses as well.
With the experience from Batelco, along with previously being General Director of Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority for six years, Mohamed is ideally suited to lead the telecommunications side of the Kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030 plans.
“Our main goal is to meet our target of providing fibre infrastructure to 100% of all businesses and 95% of all households in Bahrain,” Mohamed explains.
“Bahrain has been ranked number one in the Arab world on the ICT development index, which means that the Kingdom of Bahrain is emerging as a regional leader when it comes to digital transformation.”
By creating an entirely separate entity to control the infrastructure, BNET can take advantage of emerging technologies and pave the way for the utilisation of innovative technologies to ensure healthy economic growth, while Batelco remains focused on retail and corporate operations.
Over the next 12 months, BNET will focus on developing talents within the organisation, and creating a brand awareness for the new company, while ensuring the Kingdom is well on its way to becoming a ‘Smart Kingdom’.
“Fixed-broadband penetration has been rising tremendously in Bahrain, and we see an opportunity because of the single-network policy,” Mohamed says. “The creation of BNET, to focus on developing the country’s fibre-optic infrastructure, can transform the country into a leading business, information and communication technology hub in the region,” he continues.
The upgrades will assist in enabling commercial operators with the strength to provide their innovative services at competitive prices, and Mohamed emphasises BNET’s desire to see the end users benefit.
“This will ultimately lead to consumer welfare and economic growth, which is our vision as a company,” he says. This end user focus is a one of the key pillars of BNET’s strategy for the next 10 years and beyond.
“Our role is to drive further growth in Bahrain’s telecommunication sector and support the government in achieving its National Telecommunication Plan and 2030 vision,” Mohamed explains.
With that, consumer welfare is paramount. From both a corporate perspective and a private perspective, there is heavy interest within the Kingdom to have access to fibreoptic high-speed internet access at affordable prices.
For Mohamed and BNET, having one infrastructure provider is the logical step to that. The uncoupling of BNET from Batelco occurred in a relatively aggressive time frame, which Mohamed considers one of the greatest challenges he has faced, but emphasises the important team spirit that made the transition successful.
“It took 18 months of hard work, focused efforts and team dedication from all parties involved to be able to achieve this important milestone. We had to do this without jeopardising Batelco’s brand name through the process of separating the functional operations,” he says.
You must have a very clear vision, mission, and strategy that is shared and cascaded down to all levels in the organisation.
From his own experience, Mohamed’s attitude to leadership no doubt helped. When The CEO Magazine asks how he defines his leadership style, he explains: “You must have a very clear vision, mission, and a strategy that is shared and cascaded down to all levels in the organisation.”
In a field as complex as telecommunications, particularly in this hyper-modern, fast-paced age, an additional strength that Mohamed brings to BNET, and what makes him ideally placed to lead, is his knowledge of the technologies BNET is employing.
“Believing in the new technology and having a brave heart to go for it is key,” he beams. BNET is a digital native operator. “We are so proud to be the first telecom operator to establish a complete cloud-based digital platform,” Mohamed says.
Serving the entire Kingdom will require BNET to be at the top of its game when it comes to customer support, something of which Mohamed is well aware. “I believe that great customer experience starts with first-class employee experience, and investing in the workforce is definitely the cornerstone of any organisation,” he says.
“Providing the right environment, culture and tools for our employees is essential to the success of our company and the satisfaction of our customers.”
This means creating a work environment that is engaging and meaningful for those within the company, leading to a better experience for those who will no doubt expect BNET to provide high-quality internet access – a point that Mohamed is keen to stress.
Announced in May 2016, Bahrain’s 4th National Communication Plan began the process of creating a new national broadband provider that would be separate from the Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco). The new company, BNET, now operates Bahrain’s fibre-optic network throughout the Kingdom, while Batelco remains in the retail and corporate market.
“We want our employees to feel a sense of belonging and be passionate about what they do,” he says. “This will ultimately result in our customers being satisfied with the experience and the services they are receiving and using.”
Ultimately, it comes down to having the right corporate values, which Mohamed is keen to see filtered through the whole organisation. As stated clearly in BNET’s strategic plans, Mohamed wants to emphasise that the employees are at the heart of future success.
“Our main three focus areas internally are attracting and developing local talents, empowering Bahraini women in the telecommunications sector, and building a strong and innovative work culture,” he says.
“Because we believe that people are our most fundamental asset, we are always striving to attract new talents and nurture, develop and retain our existing talents.” From this point on, it should not be too hard to see the company culture developing as Mohamed envisages.
With a clear plan and the strategic leadership in place, Mohamed hopes that all employees feel their goals are aligned with his belief: “Everyone can see the bigger picture and strive towards achieving it.”
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