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21st February 2023

IIC MENA Chapter Inaugural Event – in person

Chapter event

Date: Tuesday 21 February 2023
Time: 09:00 – 15:15

We are delighted to announce that the inaugural IIC MENA Chapter event was kindly hosted by The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) Qatar and took place on Tuesday 21 February in Doha.

His Excellency Hassan Jassim Al-Sayed, Advisor to the Minister of Communications and Information Technology for Technical Affairs, gave a welcome address to open this event and the launch of the IIC’s MENA Chapter.

This one-day event enabled the opportunity for attendees to discuss some of the most challenging issues the industry is currently facing in the region.

The event was held at:
The St. Regis Doha Hotel (Katara)
Al Khafji St
Doha West Bay
Doha, Qatar, 14435

Registration Fees for delegates

Tuesday 21 February 2023
IIC MENA Chapter Inaugural Event

IIC Members – Free
Non-Members – £67 GBP (excluding VAT*) 
*VAT will be applicable for UK registrations only

If you feel the delegate fee may be a barrier to attending this event, please contact us at

The IIC will be pleased to provide a letter of invitation on request, but visas will be the responsibility of the event attendee.


The Chapter event venue is also offering a special hotel room rate:

The St. Regis Doha Hotel (Katara)
Al Khafji St
Doha West Bay
Doha, Qatar, 14435
Tel: +974 4446 0000
Please see here for the hotel website

800 QR: Single Room
900 QR: Double Room

To book please click below:

Book your group rate for IIC MENA Chapter 2023 Qatar

Please quote the reference Code: IIC MENA CHAPTER when making your room booking to secure the special room rate.

The IIC accepts no responsibility for bookings made at any hotels which are listed and recommends that you check out the hotels on the internet before booking.

Google maps:


Welcome address

H.E. Mohammed bin Ali bin Mohammed Al Mannai President, Communications Regulatory Authority of Qatar (CRA), Minister of Communications and Information Technology

His Excellency Mr. Mohammed bin Ali bin Mohammed Al Mannai was appointed Minister of Communications and Information Technology in October 2021.

His Excellency the Minister of Communications and Information Technology has held several positions related to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

His Excellency has served as the President of Communication Regulatory Authority after being the Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar National Broadband Network Company (QNBN), as well as having served in senior positions in the telecommunications company Ooredoo Qatar, formerly known as Qtel.

His Excellency currently holds several other positions, including Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at Qatar Free Zones Authority, Member of the Board of Trustees of Qatar University, Member of the Board of Directors of the Qatari Satellite Company Es’hailSat, and a Member of the Board of Directors of Al Jazeera Media Network.

His Excellency the Minister of Communications and Information Technology received a bachelor’s degree in Physics from the American University in Cairo.

His Excellency also holds professional certificates in management and leadership from several institutions, including the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), INSEAD Business School, and the Carnegie Bosch Institute


Alexandre Serot (Dr) Head of Regulatory, Vodafone Qatar

Alexandre Serot leads the regulatory function of Vodafone Qatar. Before joining Vodafone Qatar in 2016, Alexandre was the head of public policy and regulatory affairs for Fixed Services at the Vodafone Group where he was responsible for developing the Group’s position and regulatory strategy in relation to fixed services (NGA, etc) and National Broadband Plans as well as providing support to operating companies across Vodafone. Before joining Vodafone in 2013, Mr Serot spent over ten years working for regulators and the World Bank in various parts of the world.

An economist by training and profession, Mr Serot has a PhD in Public Policy from the European University Institute of Florence.

Bharat Vagadia (Dr) Executive Director, Regulatory Affairs, Ooredoo Group; Chair, IIC MENA Chapter

Dr Bharat Vagadia joined Ooredoo Group in 2017 as senior director regulatory affairs with oversight across the ten operations across MENA and South Asia. Prior to joining the group, he was with Ooredoo Qatar. He brings with him over twenty-five years’ experience in TMT policy, regulation and strategy and wealth of experience as a management consultant, having advised over fifty clients in over twenty-five countries, across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, including governments, regulatory authorities, multinationals, high growth start-ups, as well as investment funds. He has during his career, helped with sector liberalization, creation of licensing frameworks and the broader development of regulatory environments that foster competition and long-term consumer welfare.

Dr Vagadia is the author of four books, the latest being Digital Disruption.

Dr Vagadia holds a PhD, MBA, LLM, B-Eng, DipM. He sits on the board of Ooredoo Myanmar, is chair of GSMA AsiaPac policy group and member of the MENA policy group.

Bulent Unsal Head of Telco, SAP EMEA South

Bulent Unsal has been involved in the sales and implementation of business improvement and transformation projects and also maximization of the value from deployment of IT systems since 1998. A significant part of this has been in telecommunications industry in Eastern & Central Europe, Middle East & Africa. Currently, he’s the Head of Telecommunications industry for SAP EMEA South region helping Telcos to optimize business processes and generating new revenue streams especially in ICT and cloud business.

Mr Unsal has a B.S. Statistics degree from Middle East Technical University and an MBA degree from Istanbul Bilgi University.

Dikmen Edgu Partner and Head of MENA Region, Axon Partners Group

Dikmen Edgu is Partner and Head of MENA region at Axon Partners Group, an international firm founded in 2006 that provides investment and advisory services in the ICT and digital space in more than 70 countries across the world.

Mr Edgu is an international strategy consultant with strong expertise in emerging technology and innovation, and has worked with Regulators, Governments and Corporates alike across Europe and Asia. He has led multiple advisory projects in a wide range of policy and regulatory issues with National Cybersecurity Agencies on strategic projects, from the assessment of national ICT infrastructure to the creation of cybersecurity policies and regulations.

Mr Edgu holds a BA in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Fuat Tolga Yalcin Senior Research Manager, IDC

Tolga has nearly 20 years of experience in a range of roles in the ICT ecosystem in the Middle East. He worked for a decade for Turkiye’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority, where he oversaw regulatory areas including licensing, wholesale access, interconnection, dispute resolution, number portability, next-generation networks, and ICT indicators.

Tolga has been in the GCC since 2013 and at IDC, as a senior research manager, he oversees the telecommunications side of IDC’s syndicated research, custom consulting, and advisory services in the Middle East, Turkiye, and Africa region.

James Bellis Director, Telecommunications Practice, Frontier Economics

James Bellis, a Director in the Telecommunications Practice of Frontier Economics, has over 16 years’ experience advising world leading operators, regulators and policy makers across the globe. Much of his work focuses on market liberalisation, competition assessments, retail and wholesale pricing, cost accounting, spectrum pricing and policy, universal service and policies to promote high speed broadband services.

Mr Bellis leads much of Frontier’s telecommunications work outside Europe, focusing on Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean and he has managed a number of complex assignments working with other experts and client teams.

Jean Pierre Scerri (Dr) General Counsel, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Bahrain

Dr Jean Pierre Scerri is a UK qualified lawyer originating from Malta. He has more than 20 years’ experience in technology, media, IT and telecoms sector having worked in private practice and in-house in cable, PSTN and mobile as well as for the regulator across a number of jurisdictions including the UK, Central Europe and the Middle East. He has been working in the region for more than 8 years at TRA Bahrain where he has been responsible for a number of strategically important initiatives including the legal separation of the incumbent, the National Broadband Network project, review of the Licensing Regime and the rewrite of the Telecommunications Law.

Lynn Robinson Director General, International Institute of Communications

Lynn Robinson became Director General of the International Institute of Communications (IIC), in March 2020.

Lynn is an experienced senior director and trustee / non exec-director, having held key senior leadership positions in the technology, built environment, regulation, accreditation and dental industries. She has extensive experience of professional membership bodies working within the full spectrum including, Regulatory bodies, Industry associations and Chambers of Commerce. Lynn is a well-known and established ambassador in these areas having led on many strategic programmes to aid engagement, growth, retention, change management, stakeholder and political engagement.

An experienced Trustee / Non-Executive Director as Vice Chair at Arnos Vale Cemetery Trust, a unique heritage site in the heart of Bristol (UK), Lynn is also a Trustee / Non-Executive Director at The Bristol and Bath (UK), Parks Foundation.

Reflecting on becoming Director General at the IIC at the outbreak of a pandemic, Lynn said, ‘these last two years have been like no other we have known, with many challenges coming our way. In 2020 we successfully pivoted the organisation through a digital transformation programme to maintain a full schedule of events and by increasing the outputs delivered. Transforming the programme enabled us to continue to deliver the professional service and increase our engagement with IIC members and stakeholder community to remain connected to them through such a difficult time.

As we move through 2022, I am delighted to return to a combined in-person and online programme and to continue to evolve the IIC in to the next phase, with the vision and strategic focus to deliver our objectives and to build on our growth, engagement and retention’.


Mohammad Abu Shawish Director, Service Operation Center (SOC), Ooredoo Qatar

Mohammad Abu Shawish joined Ooredoo Qatar in 2003, since then, having held multiple operational and management roles in Ooredoo, latest as Director Service Operation Center (SOC) since 2017.

Mohammad has extensive experience in operational transformation through leading NOC to SOC transformation during the recent years. He has also played key role in key operational processes reengineering, like, Incident Management, Change Management, Customer Problem Handling Management. In addition, he has significant contribution in Business Continuity Management through the certification process of Ooredoo and maintaining it since then. He is member of the BCMS steering committee in Ooredoo Qatar. Under his leadership SOC has created a team culture of solving customer issues together as one team and with priority. He and his team have significantly increased customer experience be driving MTTR for customer tickets down, improving tools and sharpening proactive monitoring.

As a reflection of the last 6 years as Director of SOC, Mohammad said: ‘In fast evolving technology domain, and the complexity of service operations, there was a need to become more efficient and faster, and for that reason, we have introduced SMART SOC platform, utilizing the digital transformation, Automation, and the Power of AI/ML, which helped us in faster Detection, Impact Assessment, and Action’

One of the most recent and major achievements, was leading Ooredoo Assurance team during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022©. In which Ooredoo has successfully delivered the first 5G powered World Cup and has provided best in class customer experience for the visitors and the people of Qatar.

Mohammad holds Bachelor Degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering – 2002, PMP certified – 2011, and Master of Business Administration MBA from University of Aberdeen – 2021.

Pascal Dutru (Dr) General Counsel, Communications Regulatory Authority Qatar (CRA)

Dr. Pascal Dutru has worked with ictQATAR, since 2012, and with the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), the independent authority in charge of ICT and postal services in Qatar, where he has held various senior managerial positions ranging from strategy, policy, planning and legal. In that capacity, he has ensured that the mandate of the regulator enables an over-arching regulatory approach, comprising new digital services (convergence, IoT, OTT, data transfer, smart cities, etc.). Amongst a wide span of achievements, he has developed specific regulatory frameworks for competition, access, and reviewed a host of regulatory policies and instruments related to CRA mandate. His actions support Qatar transforming into a connected nation, with very high speed broadband available everywhere and significant ongoing digital transformation projects.

Dr Dutru brings with him over 30 years of experience in the communications industry, with an in-depth understanding of markets at all stages of competition and the deployment of proactive strategies tailored to foster growth. Indeed, Pascal works closely with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

Formerly, he was General Counsel of Clear Channel (France), a worldwide external communication group, and of Alten SA, a listed IT services company. Prior to that, he was Deputy General Counsel in charge of the regulatory and competition division of Bouygues Telecom. As part of his duties, he helped the company branch into new markets, oversaw strategic contract negotiations with French and Foreign service providers, handled complex litigations and was deeply involved in the regulatory field in France and in Europe. His earlier professional experience includes working as an attorney at law with Thieffry & Associes, and Bigle, Carbonnier, Lamaze & Rasle, amongst other distinguished organizations.

Dr Dutru is an Attorney at Law (Paris) with a PhD in Law and an LLM in European Law from the College of Europe (Bruges). He also graduated from ESSEC in Finance and Control. Pascal often conducts lectures in telecom law and electronic commerce, regularly speaks at high profile international conferences and is an officer of the international Bar association (IBA).



Samah AlSeddiqi Consumer Awareness & Research Section Head, Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA)

Samah AlSeddiqi is the Consumer Awareness & Research Section Head and has worked with CRA since 2017.

Mrs. AlSeddiqi’s work focuses on consumer protection and awareness, consumer market research and consumer satisfaction research. During her work with CRA, she managed many projects and research related to telecom consumers. And conducted many successful awareness events and campaigns.

One of the most recent achievements was leading CRA’s awareness activities during FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022©.

Mrs. AlSeddiqi holds a bachelor’s degree in information science from Qatar University.

Sandeep Maru Global Sales Director, Ooredoo Group

Sandeep Maru joined Ooredoo in 2021 as Global Sales Director in B2B & Wholesale department to grow international connectivity business.

Mr Maru has successfully handled variety of roles in wholesale space with large Telcos in last 20 years. He spent 16 years in Bharti Airtel in several leadership roles including his latest stint as Business Head of Middle East Region.

Sheika Noor Al-Thani International Relations specialist, Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA)

Noor Al-Thani is an International Relations specialist and has been an integral part of the Communications Regulatory Authority, Qatar, since 2017.

Ms Al-Thani was a part of the winning bidding team to host the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Plenipotentiary Conference in 2026 in Doha, Qatar. During her work in CRA she was involved in works with the Universal Postal Union, is currently a member of the GCC Roaming working group and effectively coordinated numerous international agreements and initiatives in the ICT field.

With her experience in international relations, she has a track record of success in developing and maintaining positive relationships with foreign governments and organizations. With a deep understanding of global political and cultural dynamics.

Ms Al-Thani holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Middle-Eastern studies from Northwestern University in Qatar.

Vladislav Klimov Cloud Technology Manager, SAP EMEA South

Vladislav Klimov drives the end-to-end cloud deployment strategy for EMEA South. This includes data center coverage, cloud in-country requirements, & defining how SAP addresses compliance, data residency, legal & security needs of customers & regulators.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

09:00 - 09:30 Registration
09:30-09:35 Official Opening

H.E Hassan Jassim Al-Sayed, Advisor to the Minister of Communications and Information Technology for Technical Affairs

09:35-09:45 Introduction to IIC

Lynn Robinson, Director General, International Institute of Communications

  • An update on the role and purpose of the IIC
09:45-10:00 IIC MENA Chapter

Bharat Vagadia, Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, Ooredoo Group

  • Purpose and vision of the newly formed regional Chapter
  • Plans for 2023 and beyond
  • Structure and Roles within the Chapter
  • Forming and the role of the MENA Chapter committee
10:00-10:45 Presentation: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Preparations, network statistics and lessons learned

Samah AlSeddiqi, Consumer Awareness & Research Section Head, Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA)
Mohammad Abu Shawish, Director, Service Operation Center (SOC), Ooredoo Qatar
Alexandre Serot, Head of Regulatory, Vodafone Qatar




10:45-11:15 Break
11:15-12:00 Panel: Regional regulators objectives and priorities for 2023

James Bellis, Director, Telecommunications Practice, Frontier Economics

Jean Pierre Scerri, General Counsel, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Bahrain
Pascal Dutru, General Counsel, Communications Regulatory Authority Qatar (CRA)

  • What are the objectives and priorities for 2023? What does success look like? How can industry work together with regulators with respect to achieving these goals?
12:00-12:30 Presentation: Digital Policy and Regulatory Trends in MENA Region

Fuat Tolga Yalcin, Senior Research Manager, IDC

12:30-13:30 Lunch
13:30-14:15 Fireside Chat: Enhancing national resilience through investment in international connectivity

Fireside Chat between Dikmen Edgu, Partner and Head of MENA Region, Axon Partners Group and Sandeep Maru, Global Sales Director, Ooredoo Group.

  • What is the importance of international connectivity in the communications ecosystem?
  • Could there be a role for non-telcos (i.e., companies other than national telecoms operators) in the international connectivity value chain to enhance resilience?
  • How can investment and competition in the provision of international connectivity infrastructure in the Middle East and North Africa be encouraged?
14:15-14:45 Presentation: Digital Transformation and Data: Smart data governance

Bulent Unsal, Head of Telco, SAP EMEA South
Vladislav Klimov, Cloud Technology Manager, SAP EMEA South

14:45-15:00 Presentation: Plans for ITU PP-26

Sheika Noor Al-Thani, International Relations specialist, Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA)

15:00 Next steps & closing remarks

Bharat Vagadia, Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, Ooredoo Group

Download the agenda (PDF)
Event details
21st February 2023
Doha, Qatar
Middle East & Africa
Middle East & North Africa

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