Stay organized with collections Save and categorize content based on your preferences.

Zain Group: Accelerating new mobile service deployment with API management

About Zain Group

Zain is a leading mobile voice and data services operator with a commercial footprint in eight Middle Eastern and African countries. The company is a market leader in six of those countries, serving a total of 50 million active individual and business customers.

Industries: Telecommunications
Location: Kuwait

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

Zain Group streamlines partner integrations and speeds up time to market for new services by using Apigee as a centralized API platform.

Google Cloud results

  • Stays ahead of competitors with faster time to market for new services
  • Significantly boosts revenue with diversified business
  • Gains excellent support from an innovative partner with expertise in APIs
  • Enhances mobile experiences for customers

Reduced partner integration time from one year to weeks

Zain Group understands what it takes to be a pioneer and a leader in a competitive and fast-moving industry. From its start as the first mobile operator in Kuwait and one of the first in the Middle East and Africa, Zain now serves 50 million customers across the region.

Facing heavy competition in the telecommunications market and searching for new revenue streams, Zain aimed to diversify by expanding the range of digital services it offers to customers. As it’s a major regional operator, many of the world’s biggest digital brands have shown interest in partnering with Zain. However, Zain’s position as a multinational company often made integrations difficult. Zain operated separately in eight countries with no centralized platform or infrastructure. As a result, partners would need to complete separate integrations with each operator to roll out partnerships.

Zain concluded that it needed to consolidate all of its operators onto a single platform that would eliminate the need for multiple integrations. This would enable Zain to easily onboard more partners of all sizes. The company decided to expose APIs to partners to provide them with a standard way to integrate with the systems of all operators.

“We quickly realized that Apigee was the right solution for us. It’s not only a powerful API platform, but it’s backed by Google, which has deep knowledge in the industry and is willing to work beside us as a true partner.”

Chadi Alid, API Program Director, Zain Group

“We weren’t experts in working with APIs, so we wanted more than just a powerful API platform,” says Chadi Alid, API Program Director at Zain Group. “We wanted an experienced partner who could guide us on this new journey and help us achieve success.”

Apigee’s leadership position in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Full Life Cycle API Management stood out to Zain. The company invited its top five API platform vendor candidates to Kuwait, holding detailed workshops, trainings, and showcases to better compare each option.

“We were very impressed by the support from Google during our proposal process,” Chadi says. “We quickly realized that Apigee was the right solution for us. It’s not only a powerful API platform, but it’s backed by Google, which has deep knowledge in the industry and is willing to work beside us as a true partner.”

Simplifying partnerships with centralized, standardized processes

While many of Zain’s telecommunications competitors across its markets battle to deliver the lowest prices, Zain aims to stand out with its quality and wide range of services. The company also strives to be the first to release new services, making speed to market one of the company’s biggest concerns. Before working with Apigee, partners would need to complete eight separate integration projects in eight countries. It could take months or even years for partners to lay down the groundwork, navigate different systems, and finalize integration.

“With Apigee in place, partner integration now takes less than a month, and we expect integration speeds to only get faster,” says Chadi. “We’ve onboarded six different partners since we went live with Apigee. While the first partner we onboarded to Apigee took eight months to integrate, the most recent partner just took a few weeks.”

“We’re making it easier for partners to work with us, which gives our customers faster access to new innovations and services.”

Chadi Alid, API Program Director, Zain Group

Zain has already rolled out Apigee to five of its eight operating countries, with the remaining three expected to come online shortly. This gives partners the ability to reach 30 million customers through a centralized and standardized platform.

The impact of Apigee is felt throughout Zain, beyond just technical teams. Due to the multinational structure of Zain, partners traditionally needed to sign a separate contract with each operator. Business leaders are exploring ways that they can centralize and standardize contract workflows and help partners navigate issues such as different regulations and taxation in different countries.

“Apigee has been a catalyst for exploring greater standardization across Zain Group,” says Chadi. “We’re making it easier for partners to work with us, which gives our customers faster access to new innovations and services.”

Exploring new lines of business through APIs

Zain started with an API familiar to all of its operators: direct carrier billing, which enables customers to pay for products or services by adding the charge to their mobile phone bill. It’s commonly used for subscriptions to gaming, video streaming, entertainment, and news services.

Previously, each operator had their own direct carrier billing API, resulting in multiple costly and time-consuming integration projects for customers. Customers could also use API aggregators, but again, this was a very costly option. Now that customers could connect to all operators through a single API, Zain has seen a significant acceleration in time to market along with a reduction in cost.

“Apigee has changed how we operate and has helped us bridge our operations into one centralized platform for better speed to market, agility, and innovation. Just as important, the platform has enhanced the mobile experience of our customers on multiple levels and greatly boosted revenues.”

Chadi Alid, API Program Director, Zain Group

Zain has released about a dozen APIs so far, including APIs related to messaging, charging accounts, and delivering refunds. The platform is already seeing about 2 million API calls per month, with that number expected to grow dramatically when Zain opens its developer portal and begins encouraging API adoption from more partners.

“Scalability was one very important reason why we chose Apigee,” says Chadi. “We have many ideas about how we can reach partners and expand into new lines of business through APIs, so it’s reassuring to know that Apigee will be able to scale to any volume needed.”

For example, Zain could use its position as a major mobile carrier to offer customer verification services to companies that want reassurance that they are dealing with a real customer instead of a bot. APIs give Zain a way to immediately verify a customer without disclosing personal data. Zain is also considering using the monetization features in Apigee to turn these services into new revenue streams to further diversity business.

“Apigee has changed how we operate at Zain,” says Chadi. “It has helped us bridge our operations into one centralized platform for better speed to market, agility, and innovation. Just as important, the platform has enhanced the mobile experience of our customers on multiple levels and greatly boosted revenues.”

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Zain Group

Zain is a leading mobile voice and data services operator with a commercial footprint in eight Middle Eastern and African countries. The company is a market leader in six of those countries, serving a total of 50 million active individual and business customers.

Industries: Telecommunications
Location: Kuwait