Barcelona: The Qtel Group, a Qatari telecoms company, changed its brand name to Ooredoo at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Sunday.

The new brand will be adopted by its operating companies in emerging markets across the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia during the course of 2013 and 2014.

“With Ooredoo we have chosen an Arabic word that means ‘I want’, to reflect the aspirations of our customers and our core belief that we can enrich people’s lives and stimulate human growth in the communities where we operate,” said Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Bin Saud Al Thani, chairman of Ooredoo.

“We believe that young people should be given the life chances that mobile technology can provide; that under-served communities should be able to access the internet; that every woman should have an equal opportunity to use a mobile phone; and that entrepreneurs and small businesses should be able to receive business services tailored to their needs. Our new brand reflects these beliefs.”

The companies which Ooredoo already has a controlling interest, include Qtel in Qatar, Indosat in Indonesia, Wataniya in Kuwait, Nawras in Oman, Tunisiana in Tunisia, and Nedjma in Algeria.

Ooredoo’s parent company is Qatar Telecom (Qtel), whose shares are listed on the Qatar Exchange and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

Ooredoo had more than 89 million customers as of September 2012.

During the event, Ooredoo unveiled football star Lionel Messi as its global brand ambassador, and agreed to support the Leo Messi Foundation as part of the company’s continued commitment to making a difference in communities across the world.

“We are very excited to become Ooredoo because the new brand signals our readiness to take the company to the next level. It is our belief that we can better serve our global customers by leveraging the combined resources and assets of a strong, unified global business under one brand. We also believe that rebranding now will help us to maintain our momentum in the face of new realities for the industry, signalling our commitment to become a global force,” Dr Nasser, Group CEO of Ooredoo, said.