Displaying items by tag: digital

Social networking behemoth Facebook has formally announced that it would like to launch its own cryptocurrency next year according to reports by the BBC.

Published in Apps

Virgin Mobile UAE’s ‘customer-centric’ approach

Written on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 09:55

Virgin Mobile UAE’s mobile plans are “totally customer-centric” said Product Manager Juraj Cangar speaking at the brand’s Design District HQ in Dubai on September 6. Customers can have their SIM card delivered to them “within an hour”, personalize their monthly mobile plan, and choose their own phone number, all via an in-house built app.

The fully app-based mobile service is part of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), the parent company of ‘du’. Both Virgin Mobile UAE and du will share EITC’s telecom network, allowing for Virgin Mobile to “focus more on customer experience and innovation rather than worrying about infrastructure,” said Managing Director Karim Benkirane.

Virgin Mobile UAE is unique in the sense that it doesn’t require customers to visit a physical store. Everything to do with your mobile plan is done through the app that was built by the Virgin Mobile UAE team. To join, you can simply download the app, register your details, and then choose your monthly plan (data package, international calling, international roaming, etc).

The best aspect of the app-based service is that you can edit your mobile package every month to suit your needs. For example, if you set your data plan at 1GB per month and realize it’s not enough, you can change it to 2GB (or higher/lower) for the next month. It’s important to note, though, that changes made to a plan won’t be implemented until the current plan has finished after 30 days.

Payment for the mobile package is made via credit card. Then, you must state whether you’re a visitor or a resident. This is a breakthrough feature for tourists coming to the UAE. Etisalat and du require Emirates identification to start a mobile plan which is often inconvenient for new arrivals to the UAE and tourists who want to temporarily use a local mobile network to make calls and use data.

If you’re a Virgin Mobile UAE customer and planning to travel abroad, you can pause your plan until you get back, rather than paying for a whole month’s worth of unused service. You can also customize your roaming package by selecting the country you plan to visit and choosing your package. What’s great is that the roaming package won’t begin until you start using the service in that country.

Another interesting feature Virgin Mobile UAE introduced is the ability to choose your own mobile number without having to visit a store. Following market research, the team discovered that “in the UAE people want to have their own personalized number,” said Mr. Cangar. “You can also bring your own number to Virgin Mobile. You don’t have to fill out any papers – just go through the app, find the number, and it’s yours,” he said.

Once you’ve registered your mobile plan (residents must scan a copy of their Emirates ID), your SIM card will be delivered directly to you. Virgin Mobile UAE partnered with ride-hailing firm Careem and trained some drivers to deliver the SIM cards. Drivers have an app that scans the customer’s information and then activates their SIM card. All Virgin Mobile UAE SIM cards are the same until a customer’s mobile plan is uploaded.

The Virgin Mobile UAE app can be downloaded via Google Play and Apple App Store. For now, the brand is focussing on Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, Mr. Benkirane said, and because it’s such a new service, he couldn’t offer any details about user numbers at this stage. Ultimately, the emergence of Virgin Mobile’s new service is an exciting step forward for the UAE as it continues to adopt a more digital and data-centric approach.

Published in Telecom Operators

Virgin Mobile brand officially launches in UAE

Written on Sunday, 10 September 2017 13:16

The Virgin Mobile brand was officially launched by Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) on August 5 in the UAE, bringing the first fully digital mobile service to the country. Virgin Mobile offers simple and transparent technology and a unique consumer experience through its innovative app-based service.

Earlier this year, following the announcement by Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC) to bring the Virgin Mobile brand to the UAE, Virgin founder and global entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson visited the UAE to see the digital service in development.

Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC, commented: “Today, we are delighted to add such a well-known global brand to our portfolio, which is critical to our strategy of offering more choice for consumers in the UAE. We feel privileged to have welcomed Richard Branson to the UAE earlier this year, and to have his passionate support for the brand.”  

“We have always worked hard to offer our customers the latest technologies and the best service, and we believe Virgin Mobile’s fully digital offering is ushering a new era in connectivity and customer-led service never seen before in the UAE,” he continued.

The Virgin Mobile UAE app signifies a paradigm shift in the mobile industry, digitally designed to simplify life for customers, and the unique Virgin Mobile distribution model allows customers to download the app and have the SIM card delivered to their homes or office throughout the UAE. The digital experience gives Virgin Mobile UAE customers flexibility and convenience, putting control of their mobile service back into the customer’s hands.

Richard Branson, Virgin Group Founder said, “This is a very exciting time for us, and we are proud to announce the launch of the Virgin Mobile brand in the UAE. The digital service that Virgin Mobile is offering is world-class and cutting-edge. We have a fantastic team in place who I believe will make mobile better for customers across the UAE.”

The Virgin Mobile UAE app, which can be downloaded via the Google Play and Apple App Store, enables customers to hand-pick their own mobile number, custom-make a mobile plan, scan their ID, and have the Virgin Mobile UAE SIM card delivered anywhere in the UAE within an hour.

Using the Virgin Mobile UAE app, customers can port their mobile number without visiting a store, track their data and minute usage in real time, search and choose their favourite mobile number, set up monthly spend limits, and more. The subscription-based model means that there is no need for a contract, giving customers the flexibility to decide how they want to communicate with family and friends without being constrained by specific time bound terms and conditions. 

Consumers in the UAE are already passionate about the Virgin brand, as Virgin Megastore, Virgin Radio and Virgin Atlantic have all been setting the standard for innovation, service excellence and customer experience inherent in this leading global brand.

Beta users were the first to try out the Virgin Mobile digital experience, providing valuable feedback which the Virgin Mobile UAE team has used to add the final touches to its mobile app.

“After months of rigorous testing, we are pleased to bring the first fully digital mobile service to the UAE”, said Karim Benkirane, Managing Director of EITC’s Virgin Mobile business unit. “Our team has developed an innovative digital platform to create simple customer-focused solutions. For example, there is no longer the need to go to a shop for your mobile needs, just download the app and you can not only have your SIM delivered, but also manage your mobile plan through the app.” 

Published in Telecom Operators

Orange is working with Facebook and Telecom Infra Project (TIP), a global engineering focused initiative that aims to transform the traditional approach to building and deploying telecoms network infrastructure, to support startups focused on network infrastructure innovation by launching a new “Telecom Track” as part of its Orange Fab accelerator program in France.

This partnership will look to pursue the best innovations and talent within the sector, and provide startups with support and counsel from experts at Orange, TIP and Facebook – while facilitating networking and internal and external investment opportunities.

The project will be managed through Orange Fab France, Orange’s accelerator program for startups at Orange Gardens, an eco-campus in Paris devoted completely to research and innovation. Engaging directly with leading experts from within Orange and its partners, startups will be able to work with the Group on tackling a number of network-related issues, ranging from network management to new access technologies, across a number of regions. 

The startups will receive all of the current benefits as part of the existing Orange Fab program, in which they will participate in dedicated workshops, mentoring sessions with experienced specialists, receive an optional €15,000 in funding, and have access to work space at the Orange Gardens, where the Group’s research and innovation teams are based.

In addition to drawing upon the global Orange Fab network, the startups will have access to experts from the TIP community, TEAC, and Facebook. This framework will help them connect to innovation teams, investment partners, and venture capitalists who can provide additional expertise and potential funding in order to launch new products and services. 

The call for projects has opened today and candidates will have until 14th May 2017 to submit entries. After three weeks, a number of startups will be selected to join the acceleration program, followed by the opportunity to present at an Orange launch event in June attended by Orange, TIP and Facebook executives, and partners and venture capitalists. Further along the acceleration process, the selected startups will be invited to pitch at a TEAC event being held in San Francisco at the end of the year. 

“As part of our network evolution towards 5G and future technologies, there is a huge opportunity to innovate at the network level, and a need to support the bright minds and talents that will keep pushing telecoms innovation forward,” said Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Executive Vice-President of Innovation, Marketing and Technologies, Orange.

“We believe that with our partnership with Facebook and the opening of the new Telecom Track, we are able to encourage and support this community of startups, which has the ability to really disrupt this space and develop new innovation within telecoms.”

“Facebook is looking forward to working with Orange and TIP to support this start-up accelerator,” said Jay Parikh, Head of Engineering and Infrastructure, Facebook. “Working together, we hope to help identify and support telecoms network infrastructure innovation while helping pave the way for future breakthroughs.”  

Added commitment from Orange Digital Ventures

In order to further accelerate the scaling of the participating startups, Orange Digital Ventures will support this new “Telecom Track” and provide fundraising guidance and Venture Capital networking opportunities through its investors’ alliances. Orange Digital Ventures is already actively contributing to transforming the Telecom landscape through its portfolio of investments, and will potentially invest in the participating startups.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera media network has confirmed its partnership with Google to accelerate its growth and promote its position as a “digital-first” broadcaster. The purpose of the partnership is to attract and retain audiences for Al Jazeera, build products for video and mobile, maximize advertising revenues, and train journalist in digital skills.

Al Jazeera and Google will both allocate “significant” resources to the partnership but neither disclosed exactly how much. Alfonso De Gaetano, director of global partnerships – emerging markets at Google said: “We are delighted to partner with the AL Jazeera Media Network to bring the best of Google to the company. The partnership covers a number of different areas such as monetization solutions, distribution platforms like DoubleClick, YouTube, Cloud as well as digital tools training.”

Abdulla Al Najjar, executive director, global brand & communications at Al Jazeera Media Network welcomed the partnership. “Our commitment to our users has always compelled us to seek out and leverage the best technology platforms in the world and Google’s proven track record of delivering make them the ideal partner for Al Jazeera Media Network,” he said.

Digital content produced by Al Jazeera already reaches over two million subscribers via YouTube channels, according to the media network, and Google Newsstand helps to widen distribution. Al Jazeera says its investment in mobile has led to mobile users comprising over 70 percent of its audience and across all channels and Google’s DoubleClick platform efficiently monetizes content.

Over 500 industry analysts, media representatives, and opinion leaders across a range of disciplines gathered in Shenzhen on April 11 for the 14th annual Huawei Global Analyst Summit (HAS).

Hosted by leading global information and communications (ICT) solutions provider, Huawei Technologies, the analyst summit will highlight Huawei's latest innovations, business practices, and solutions in domains like cloud services, video, the Internet of Things (IoT), AI, and digital transformation. Huawei will also take this opportunity to discuss its strategy in these domains.

Eric Xu, Huawei's Rotating CEO, opened the summit with an in-depth overview of the company's strategy: "The journey to an intelligent world has already begun," he said. "Many years of exploration and innovation in technology are driving industry development, presenting huge business opportunities. Huawei will remain committed to building more connections, enlarging data pipes, and driving digital transformation. By focusing on ICT infrastructure and smart devices, we will enable this intelligent world and drive its ongoing progress."

Xu went on to discuss how providing cloud services have already become a basic business model: "Beginning in 2017, Huawei will focus on public cloud services. We will invest heavily in building an open and trusted public cloud platform, which will be the foundation of a Huawei Cloud Family. This family will include public clouds we develop together with operators, and public clouds that we operate on our own."

William Xu, Executive Director and Chief Strategy Marketing Officer at Huawei, expanded on Eric's keynote to discuss new opportunities brought about by digital transformation: "Digital transformation opens up immense new potential for value-driven growth in traditional industries," he said.

"Naturally, industries are eager to tap into this potential. According to findings from the 2017 Global Connectivity Index, digitization is gaining momentum around the globe. Investment in cloud computing is ramping up on a regional and national scale, and the cloud is seeing broader application. This will help industries go digital—and fast."

William Xu noted that ICT infrastructure is an important pillar of national economic growth, and that the cloud in particular is key to unleashing the power of connectivity. For this reason, Huawei recommends that countries and industries turn their attention to digital transformation as a driver for growth, and pursue greater development and investment opportunities in emerging fields like cloud computing, IoT, and big data in order to reap the benefits of technological development.

In his presentation, Ryan Ding, Executive Director and President of Products & Solutions at Huawei, reminded attendees that "during last year's summit, we made a commitment to advocate, promote, and lead the All-Cloud evolution. We have done this, and have now shifted our focus to getting All-Cloud off the ground and driving commercialization. Beyond this, as we stand at the edge of a trillion-dollar video market, Huawei is also positioning itself as an enabler of operator and vertical success in their video businesses. Our All-Cloud and video strategies require the support of a symbiotic ecosystem. Huawei welcomes partners with open arms to collaboratively push for new growth in the ICT industry ecosystem."

Huawei adheres to principles of openness, collaboration, and shared success across the ecosystem. The company has doubled down on its commitment to customer-centricity, and over the past few years has stepped up its efforts to develop and invest in industry alliances, business alliances, open source communities, and developer platforms. Huawei's goal is to help each of its partners maximize the potential of their unique strengths, thereby growing the industry and cultivating a sustainable, symbiotic ecosystem.

The first HAS was held in 2004, and has continued annually for 14 consecutive years. This year's summit runs from April 11 to 13, with multiple parallel sessions. Attendees include industry experts from around the world, all of whom provide their unique insight into a variety of topics and trends.        

Published in Telecom Vendors

NTT Docomo Launches Global Mcommerce Provider

Written on Sunday, 20 March 2016 07:38

Japan's largest mobile network operator, NTT Docomo has set up Docomo Digital in London as a new global business operation that "brings together key assets and capabilities to enable m-commerce for mobile network operators, digital and real-world service providers, merchants and regulators."

Published in Telecom Operators