Axiom CEO Faisal Al Bannai today revealed his hopes and predictions for the forthcoming GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC), hailing the event as a powerful indicator of the products and trends likely to make an impact in MENA throughout 2014.
“MWC is more important than ever before, which is clearly demonstrated by the fact that marquee names like Mark Zuckerberg are giving keynotes highlighting the irresistible and influential rise of mobile technology,” said Al Bannai, who is a regular attendee at the annual event, which this year runs from 24-28 February.
As the founder and figurehead of the region’s largest mobile retailer and distributor, Al Bannai explained that MWC casts a dynamic spotlight on key technologies in the pipeline, which helps him devise optimal, value-added go-to-market strategies for products he thinks will take off in MENA.
axiom is the Middle East’s leading authorised distributor for heavy-hitting brands such as Samsung, Nokia and Blackberry– all of which are likely to have a busy MWC, according to Al Bannai.
“There’s been plenty of post-CES buzz surrounding Samsung’s plans,so I’m eagerly anticipating the Unpacked event on day one of MWC,” he said.
“Everyone is holding out for an S5 reveal but they are understandably keeping things tightly under wraps. Either way, an announcement of sorts is on its way and the tech will sit up and take notice. Aside from that, I’m looking forward to trying out the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite, and industry insiders are implying there may be some demonstrations of Tizen, a new operating system that is open source and part-owned by Samsung. I’m also keen to learn how the company’s evolving focus on wearables is playing out.”
“Nokia had a strong showing across MENA in 2013, and there could be potential to build on that momentum with some new additions to the Lumia range at MWC. The big news, however, could surround the full scoop on Nokia Normandy, which represents the company’s first foray into the Android market.
“When it comes to LG, Barcelona could well be the place we get to learn more about LG G3. Like many in the industry, LG has also been talking intently about smartwatches and there’s a strong possibility we will get our first glimpse of the G-Smart smartwatch. Whether or not it ends up using LG’s much publicized flexible display technology remains to be seen.
“HTC, meanwhile, has a big flagship act to follow after the huge success of its HTC One but I’ve no doubt they will deliver another hit. Hopefully details of this new device – rumoured to be called the HTC One-2 – will be available in some form at MWC.
“I’ve also heard talk of Huawei updating its Ascend P6 and Google bringing a number of new devices to the table. In addition, it will beinteresting to learn if there’s any news from Motorola post-Lenovo acquisition. Then of course there’s Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote. With Facebook focusing hard on mobile, the stage is surely set for an announcement of some kind. Jan Koum, co-founder and CEO of What’s App, is another keynote speaker that will surely provide some intriguing insight on new modes and habits of mobile communication.”
As well as immersing himself in the facts and buzz surrounding new and imminent product releases, Al Bannai will host a number of meetings with both existing and prospective partners.
“2014 is going to be a big year for axiom as we seek to expand further still across the region, improve our customer service through cutting-edge innovation, and look ahead to the roll-out of our MVNO in Saudi Arabia,” he said.