Omantel Innovation Labs to Help New and Emerging Startups

To enable better technological reach for new and emerging startups, Omantel has launched Omantel Innovations Labs.

Omantel, the leading telecommunications company in Oman and a key role-player in MENA, is excited to announce the launch of the Omantel Innovation Labs, which will contribute to Oman’s Vision 2040 and promote innovation and entrepreneurship in new and emerging technologies. Under this new initiative, Omantel will leverage its expertise, partnerships, reach, and access to technology to build a tech-based startup ecosystem.

The key focus of Omantel Innovation Labs is to cultivate entrepreneurial skills among the youth and accelerate the growth of relevant Oman-based technology startups across five technological verticals: 5G, Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, Customer Experience Technology, and Big Data.

Located in a 1100m2 facility at Omantel headquarters in Muscat, the Innovation Labs will organize, participate in, and host multiple activities to support the Company’s internal innovation agenda by providing systematic spaces, approaches, events, and activities that can accelerate product conceptualization, prototyping, testing and deployment of solutions to Oman and Omantel-centric challenges.

“We want to support and tap into new ideas and technologies, stay ahead of the curve, and drive local innovation. For this, we need to optimally deploy our resources and create an environment wherein caliber and opportunities match national digital transformation goals. Omantel Innovations Labs have been conceptualised and designed to fit perfectly into this ecosystem and aim to put the company at the heart of Oman’s emerging culture of entrepreneurial growth, knowledge sharing, collaboration, and economic development through digitization.”

Talal Said Al Mamari, Chief Executive Officer, Omantel.

Omantel has been showcasing innovation possibilities with frontier technologies through numerous recent projects that add efficiency to operations and excitement to everyday activities. Omantel has piloted two major 5G projects in Oman’s transport and logistics sector that showcase the use of 5G infrastructure beyond network speed and efficiency and brings more accountability and streamlining to port operations.

Omantel is enabling the Middle East’s first Artificial Intelligence and IoT-powered store. Soon, shopping at the Ahlain Store in Oman Oil’s filling station at Omantel’s headquarters in Madinat al Irfan will be a queue-free, cashless, grab-and-go experience. Omantel has also successfully conducted a 5G test using the mmWave, paving the way for enhanced user experience especially in crowded spaces such as during festivals and events. The trial has demonstrated Omantel’s ability to deliver multi-gigabit speeds with eight-cell carrier aggregation functionalities and used a carrier bandwidth of 800MHz at 26GHz.

Keeping such developments in mind, the Innovation Labs aim to build a platform that can generate use cases for prioritized technologies and facilitate an ecosystem that complements Omantel’s differentiating activities.

An off-shoot of this initiative is the Omantel Accelerator program, designed in collaboration with the UK Oman Digital Hub. It will be delivered in partnership with Oman-based regional accelerator OTF (Oman Technology Fund) and the global venture accelerator and ecosystem developer; Brinc.

The six-month program intends to de-risk innovative startups across multiple stages of their lifecycle. Startups will be guided through the myriad challenges in the highly competitive tech industry through mentorship, networking, and fundraising support.

“We are very excited about this partnership with Omantel. After accelerating over 100 companies in Oman, the Middle East, and North Arica, we have found that corporate partnerships are vital in increasing the growth rate of our portfolio companies. OTF Accelerator will be assisting Omantel in selecting Oman’s next top startups. We believe that having great founders is at the core of having a successful start-up. With our wide regional selection expertise, we are now eager to see that Oman’s best entrepreneurial minds will be part of Omantel’s Innovation Labs, and Omantel Accelerator specifically”.

Mohammed Al Rasbi, Managing Director, OTF Accelerator

“The global pandemic has underscored the value of innovation, technology, and connectivity to business continuity and economic growth, making collaboration a core requirement to accelerating their pace. Wherever we go, there are tech game-changers that require guidance to support their journeys, de-risk their ventures and ensure that they continue to play an active role in solving local, regional, and global challenges. Whether students, employees, or early-stage startups, we ensure that they acquire the necessary tools to succeed. We are thrilled to collaborate with Omantel to transform the region into one of the leading tech telecommunication startup hubs.”

Yasin Aboudaoud, Managing Partner and CDO. Brinc

The program is tailored to meet the needs of each participating startup to ensure that they commercialize, multiply, and scale effectively while providing the technical feasibility, market desirability, and financial viability of their products and operations.

The startup companies joining the program will be eligible for perks worth over USD 250,000 in cloud computing, legal services, accounting, and other areas and the potential to gain up to USD 50,000 in investment from OTF. The program will also provide the startups with free desk space at the Omantel Innovation Labs and access to a network of over 100,000 investors, corporates, and mentors.

To be considered for this opportunity, startups should demonstrate that they are developing proprietary technology that directly corresponds to or depends on one or more of the five program focus areas. They are posting the MVP stage and are ready to scale. Earlier stage companies and technology startups in other industry verticals will be considered.

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