As per the Governments directives to support the SMEs and provide job opportunities to the Omanis’ youth, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Petroleum development Oman (PDO) to train 200 job seekers for two years, which will guide the trainees through to set up businesses in the telecommunication sector.

The implementation of this initiative is aiming to Omanise jobs in the last mile connectivity services; which are now occupied by untrained non-Omanis which contributes to unemployment levels among Omanis. Second, the number of companies performing services has created unhealthy competition by lowering prices beyond a sustainable level for well-established businesses to survive. Third, there has been very little regulation in the LMC sector, which has affected the quality of services provided.

In this regard, PDO Managing Director Raoul Restucci, said: “We are determined to sustain our efforts to create employment and business opportunities for jobseekers in a variety of economic sectors including telecommunications. “By joining forces with trusted partners, such as the TRA, we aim not only to create job opportunities for young Omanis, but also to equip them with the tools and skill sets which will empower them to start their own businesses.”, He added.

The Executive President of the TRA, His Excellency Dr. Hamed Al Rawahi stressed, “The LMC program is a great example of the way we should look to work as we move towards the future of Oman. This is a program that is developed by Omanis, for the benefit of Omanis in our great Sultanate.”

For this Project, AMAN Technology and Engineering Consultancy was selected as a local partner who would be responsible for overseeing the optimization and development of LMC within Oman. AMAN is a result-driven technology consultancy operating within Oman and was selected due to their specific industry and cultural insights that would enable them to make the project a success. Chief Executive Officer of AMAN, Dr. Alfadhal Al Hinai, has expressed his sincere interest and commitment to the success of the project. According to him, “The successful initiation and current progress of the LMC project fills my heart and mind with great expectation of what we can do when we choose to come together and work hard for a single purpose.”

Mr. Omar Alqatabi, the chairman of the project steering committee said, “This project is very ambitious as it would open new opportunities for fresh graduates and engage many SMEs in the telecom industry directly with the licensed operators.” The first phase started in early 2018, in which, several concerned stakeholders like the telecom operators, Oman Development Bank, the National Business Centre, SME Authority (Riadah), and others have been working jointly to develop a strategic framework and governance policies to regulate the LMC services and to accelerate national development of Omanis.

The second phase of the project is to create a pilot program that is open to Omani SMEs that will develop a business through Oman’s local business training incubator programs and through hands on technical training in performing LMC services. These companies will be primarily operated and run by Omanis, which will help to increase opportunities for citizens and decrease unemployment numbers. The program will also prepare the way for more local businesses to participate in the ongoing national development occurring within the Sultanate of Oman. The licensed telecom operators Omantel, Oredoo, Oman Broadband and Awaser Oman have shown their commitment to support these SMEs by giving them a number of monthly orders for broadband installation.

Due to these developments, Oman Fiber Optic Company has become a partner in the project by developing training programs and providing facilities for the program participants to become certified in providing LMC services. There are currently nine (9) companies and thirty two (32) individuals who are nearing completion of the certification process offered through Oman Fiber at their facilities in Muscat. The completion of this project will greatly benefit the citizens of Oman and is a key project in the ongoing work to develop national capacity in the ICT sector.