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Interview with the director of Lte magazine

Interview with the director of Lte magazine

Interview conducted by Mr. Mohammed Taher SBIHI, management researcher, with Mr. Ahmed Khaouja, director of Lte magazine, on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of Lte magazine

Question 1, Let me come back for a few moments to the idea itself of ​​creating this magazine, which makes telecoms, digital technology and regulation its favorite areas?

Answer: In response to your question, as a preamble to this interview, I will briefly mention the main stations that the magazine has known. It actually dates back to the beginning of 2015. When I got the small sum of 3000 euros, an amount granted to retirees by the body in charge of social activities of the organization where I worked in Morocco, the idea that came to my mind is to use this amount wisely, within the framework of the new digital paradigm. Thus, I started off by acquiring a good business computer and getting some interesting and available internet domain names for my projects. To give a boost to my fledgling business, I had to make a shortcut and create the magazine mentioned above in order to quickly promote my PTT Maroc business, because I wanted to save time. Throughout my career as a telecom engineer, I have always liked to use the shortcut strategy as much as possible. I think that if certain lawyers invented the rupture strategy, for my part, I believe to have made up with the one of shortcuts.

Question 2, What is the target profile of your readers?

Answer: The magazine is aimed at the telecoms and digital ecosystem. Through our newsletters, we target a particularly informed category of readers, belonging to this ecosystem, operating in telecoms and digital at the international level. We are also targeting national organizations in Morocco and international ones, such as the International Telecoms Union (ITU), the World Bank, NASA and so on. Note, however, that our readers may also have other areas of expertise, insofar as Lte magazine is also interested in equally interesting themes, in relation to economic and management news. A free forum is specifically dedicated to these contributions, related to the aforementioned areas of interest.

Question 3, Mr. KHAOUJA, could you tell us, briefly, about the place of your magazine in the media scene?

Answer: First of all, let me specify that Lte magazine allows my company PTT Maroc, on the one hand, to build interesting partnerships and, on the other hand, to illustrate the work that PTT Maroc does, particularly in terms of training and consulting. So Lte magazine presents itself, among other things, as a showcase for the company PTT Maroc.

And to answer your question, I would say that each communication medium has its target. The magazine is a rather technological and scientific medium, with an international target addressing an elite audience, operating directly or indirectly in telecoms, digital and regulation. In terms of figures, Moroccan visitors represent 40% of our readership. The remaining 60% is distributed across all member countries of the International Telecoms Union.

Question 4, Going into the creation of a digital bimonthly magazine is no shortage of ingenuity, I would agree. So, what motivated the digital version, rather than paper? And why plan for an English version, recently launched from January 1, 2021?

Answer: I took advantage of my experience as director of “ANITEL” (National Association of Telecoms Engineers), an only paper version during the 90s. It costs much more for its design and distribution and requires, moreover, a lot of means that I did not have. In addition, with the launch of the digital age, particularly in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, this option, which is now increasingly preferred over other alternatives, will soon be an essential choice!

The English version of Lte magazine, which is hosted in the USA, was also decided upon at the request of our readers, who are located in particular in the countries of the MENA zone and in English-speaking Africa, in addition to those of the USA.

Question 5: Just a little curiosity that torments my mind, Mr. Khaouja, had you worked in the publishing industry before the magazine appeared?

Answer: Relevant question! Indeed, I had a little experience on that area, which made it easier for me to carry out my projects. I would first cite my first article published in the newspaper “Le Monde” on June 29, 1981, as a student at the national school of telecommunications (ENST) in Paris. Moreover, this article is still online on the website of this newspaper at the following link:

https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1981/06/29/emigres_2730702_1819218.html

Then, from 1983 to the present day, I have had the pleasure of publishing in the Moroccan and foreign press several articles dealing with various themes. This being the case, the fact remains that my greatest experience is the one which I had when I exercised the function of director of the monthly review “ANITEL” from 1993 to 1996. Also,  as part of the faculty members  from 1990 at the INPT (National institute of post and telecommunications in Morocco), I cooperated with Info-magazine at Casa, by publishing a series of topical and technical articles. I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to Mrs. Natalia Sougrichvili, Managing Director at that time of this magazine, for the trust and support she has shown me over the years.

I therefore think that all these experiences have served me to launch Lte magazine, in July 2015. Obviously, I would not deny that the element of luck has also been on my side in the creation of this company because the publication of this magazine coincided with the launch in Morocco of 4G (LTE) by the operator Orange, in June 2015!

Question 6, How are you organized? How are you funded?

Answer: I see you coming to the crux of the matter (laughs)!!! In fact, as early as June 2015, I remember having sent letters to all the actors in the telecoms sector in Morocco and also to certain ministries to ask for support for my company. Of all the letters sent, only two private sector players responded. For funding, I started by providing it in 2015, through training sessions that I gave in the field of regulation. Moreover, the synergy between my company PTT Maroc (www.PTT.ma) and Lte magazine (www.lte.ma) has proven to be very successful. For example, this magazine offers me the opportunity to stay up to date in the fields of telecoms and digital and also to constantly promote the PTT company in Morocco and internationally.

In terms of work organization, my employees and I use modern solutions. Thus, we rely on Cloud solutions and collaborative work. Several people cooperate with me all over the five continents, in shared mode, thanks to information and communication technologies, particularly through internet platforms. Today, the English version of Lte magazine is hosted in the United States of America on the domain name www.LTEmagazine.com.

Question 7, What are the clues that allow you to be satisfied with your publication and to cultivate some kind of serenity towards it? In other words, would you think you are meeting the expectations of your readership?

Answer: You don’t need to do surveys, because you directly feel the satisfaction! The most important thing is to listen to our news readers. Yes, I think our readership is satisfied. Because our readers are aware that communication in the telecom’s ecosystem is an essential information tool for making the right decision. Thus, our readers are regularly informed of new developments, so that they can practice their profession with full knowledge of the facts. On the one hand, we want to send clear messages and on the other hand, we wish to respect the timing of the publication, which is one of the keys to success. The number of visitors reached, clearly shows that we are meeting the expectations of our readers.

Question 8, Are there possibilities for cooperation and partnership with other magazines, in areas of common interest?

Answer: Good question. We have recently been approached by some professionals living in Dubai, including an Anglo-Saxon monthly. They propose to make Lte magazine a support for all of Africa and in both languages ​​(French and English). We are continuing our talks on this subject. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 crisis has prevented us from pursuing them at a sustained pace.

Question 9, What would be the prospects for Lte-magazine in the medium and long term? Any plans to strengthen the reputation of the periodical?

Answer: Definitely, we will continue our work, because as we say “there is no point to change a winning team” and we believe that our dynamism is paying off. But we also think of more or less ambitious prospects for Lte magazine by seeking the following.

-To guarantee permanent financial resources so that the sustainability of the magazine is ensured;

– to transform the magazine into a publication medium for young African researchers, in order to make them known worldwide;

– to continue our negotiations with our partners, with a view of seeking for a new momentum to this support.

Question 10, As a conclusion to this interview, could you tell us what makes you confident and optimistic?

Answer: This is not a secret but rather an open secret!!! In the opinion of our readers, Lte magazine remains a perfectly adequate tool, insofar as it constitutes a forum between young people operating in the ICT sector and former executives who have worked in the telecoms sector. The number of consultations at the end of June 2021 is almost 350,000. The record of 805 consultations in one day was reached on June 1, 2020 after the completion of the exclusive and live interview with the American astronaut from NASA, Mr. Tani Daniel, at the time of the successful completion of the stowage of the SpaceX capsule carrying the 2 astronauts with the international station (ISS) on May 31, 2020. Naturally, my personal motivation and that of my team, increases when I meet a young person or a retiree who affirms me to have read such and such an article or interview, on the columns of Lte-magazine or when certain major players trust PTT Maroc, through Lte magazine such as the international group IDC, which has associated us as a partner for the organization of an IT Forum on November 22, 2018 in Casablanca.

So, beyond the intellectual and business aspect, this electronic medium constitutes, today, a means of reinforcing the dialogue and the confrontation of the experiences and the points of view between the generations of executives working in the telecoms, in the digital or in ICT regulation.

I am even more optimistic because, thanks to Lte magazine, we keep in touch with industry leaders, great personalities, experienced professionals, inventors, researchers, and even astronauts and Nobel Prizes. On this occasion, I would like, once again, to reiterate my warmest thanks to the contributors to Lte-magazine, for the efforts they are making in favor of the development of this magazine, to my readership for its trust and to my team for their dedication. I also express my sincere thanks to the magazine’s partners for their support.

Mr. KHAOUJA, I would also like to express to you all my gratitude for your sincerity and truthfulness throughout this fascinating interview, hoping to see you again on another occasion.

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