Virgin Group launches Virgin Mobile Qatar

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has launched a new mobile phone service in partnership with Qtel Telecom in Qatar.

Virgin Mobile Qatar, launched in a brand licensing agreement with state-owned Qtel, will offer a prepaid mobile phone service within Qtel's network.

In a statement, Virgin said the service would be “open, fun and simple to use”, as well as being supported by a range of retail stores and a new, dedicated contact centre in Doha.

The service will offer a simple all-day tariff and provide 180-day airtime—the longest-lasting mobile airtime validity in Qatar—as well as the cheapest mobile internet rate in Qatar.

Commenting on the partnership, Dr. Nasser Marafih, CEO of Qtel, said: “We are pleased and proud to welcome Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Mobile brand to Qatar. 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 20 global telecommunications operators by 2020. For the people of Qatar, it adds a fantastic new choice and a whole new communications lifestyle.”

Ed Jennings, head of Virgin Mobile Qatar, added: “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.”

Qtel operates in 17 countries and has expanded rapidly abroad to counter the arrival of the UK’s Vodafone into the Qatari market in 2007, when it broke Qtel's monopoly with its $2.12 billion bid for Qatar's second mobile phone licence.

Qtel, which has a 65 per cent stake in Indonesia's second-biggest telecoms company, PT Indosat, has said it will continue to focus its expansion efforts on the MENA and south-east Asia regions.

Virgin Mobile Qatar will be Virgin Mobile’s first launch in the Middle East, but its eighth worldwide. It has already launched in the UK, Australia, the US, Canada, France, South Africa and India.

According to Virgin Group’s founder, Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile is the group's fastest-growing and most successful business in its history, with more than 15 million customers around the world.