Asiacell has 3 million female customers, of whom 1.2 million have joined since the launch of mWomen initiatives a year ago. Since 2011, the proportion of Asiacell's female customers has grown from 20 percent to 30 percent, and is expected to reach 40 percent by the end of 2012.
Many of those customers have signed up for its Almas ("Diamond" in Arabic) line of mobile products and services that has been specifically designed for female customers.
During the fact-finding mission, GSMA representatives chaired focus groups with female customers coming from various regions of Iraq. The officials also visited an Asiacell call centre and shop, and met with Iraqi and U.S. government officials.
U.S. Ambassador at Large for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, instrumental in the launch of mWomen for the U.S. Department of State said "Iraqi women are critical to their country's prosperity and stability, yet they face tremendous challenges to exercising their full potential in Iraqi society.
As a next step, Asiacell is launching two pilot projects to continue closing the gender gap in mobile service, especially in rural regions, where mobile penetration for women remains in the single digits. These projects include opening stores which are serviced exclusively by saleswomen, and routing Almas customers' calls to a customer care centre staffed by female customer service staff.
Dr. Diar Ahmed, CEO of Asiacell, said: "Asiacell's contribution to closing the gender gap in mobile phone use can be seen and measured, as the number of female customers continues to grow. The next step is to help support and facilitate economic participation through mobile technology, by adding new services and new opportunities for women. We have a strong belief in the power of mobile technology to empower women in being agents of economic and social development."
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