INTERVIEW: Tareq Amin, CEO of Aramco Digital, insisted the Saudi oil giant’s recently created technology unit is not interested in entering the consumer mobile segment in a traditional way, with its focus set firmly on software, platforms and private 5G.

Amin joined Aramco Digital in late-2023 shortly after leaving Rakuten Symphony. He told Mobile World Live the state-owned company is working very hard to establish a foundation around software and platforms, ending speculation about a potential foray into mobile.

With previous experience in developing open RAN at Rakuten Symphony, Amin also said Aramco Digital would look at the technology for industrial use cases, while adding he was very much focused on developing a private 5G play.

“If private 5G is going to be successful, it must look exactly like managed Wi-Fi,” he said.

Amin further argued “the struggles” of the entire private 5G segment today in relation to uptake are mostly driven by the complexities of browsing, buying, deploying and provisioning.

“The thing we’re trying to work towards is making this effortless. The good news is it has already happened in Wi-Fi. It has really materialised in a magnificent way in enterprise.”

Despite being part of Aramco, an oil company with a market capitalisation of more than $2 trillion, Amin said the digital unit was very much operating as a start-up, commencing “from the ground up”.

To that end, Amin explained that while he was excited about developing platforms covering connectivity, cloud, cybersecurity, data and AI, his specific experience in building up a business could prove key.

“The parts that I have a lot more relevant experience in is how you build and orchestrate the right team and the right talent to go and build the foundation for this new start-up.”

During the interview, Amin also spoke about how he secured the role, the unit’s potential customers and investment required to fulfil its vision. Click below to watch.

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