Displaying items by tag: UAE
Etisalat announced the successful completion of the first MENA IPTV (Internet Protocol television) service over an existing WTTx (4G) network trial. The trial is the first of its kind over an existing LTE network, and opens the doors to advanced 5G-era streaming services like IPTV over existing wireless networks.
WTTx (4G) provides fast access to home broadband markets over existing LTE networks, enabling operators to quickly launch IPTV services, and greatly improving ROI by finding the right synergy between WTTx and FTTx.
Etisalat launched commercial use of WTTx (4G) based wireless broadband internet access and voice services with abundance of 3.5 GHz spectrum last year. The announcement is the start of a new journey as the regional first wireless IPTV and Video-On-Demand (VOD) services, which are based on 4G/LTE customer-premises equipment (CPE) and set top boxes (STBs). Furthermore, this innovative service will pave the way for Etisalat to lead 5G in the world.
Saeed AlZarouni, Senior Vice President, Mobile Network, Etisalat said, “IPTV over WTTx will revolutionize TV service availability for Etisalat customers, making it seamless for them to watch subscription-based e-Life TV content across Etisalat’s 4G networks. Etisalat customers are becoming more reliant on Home Broadband (HBB) services; therefore, offering rich TV entertainment over our LTE network will address this requirement and meet their growing need for rich and varied content.”
AlZarouni added, “A WTTx solution also creates an opportunity for us to maximize existing LTE investments and capacity while improving returns as it provides immediate delivery for IPTV home entertainment.”
UAE based satellite operator Yahsat announced the successful trial of a 50Mbps in-flight connection that will change the way passengers experience air travel. The result of a unique partnership between Yahsat, du, Etihad Airways Engineering, Hughes Network Systems and Carlisle Interconnect, the high-speed broadband offering will be available for airlines to offer its passengers within the next year.
Using Yahsat’s Al Yah 2 satellite, and the latest generation Ka-band technology, the test took place in Abu Dhabi, simulating the environment found on an Airbus A320 aircraft. This new level of performance for in-flight connectivity (IFC) will mean passengers have an in-flight browsing experience similar to the service available in their home or office, including access to HD streaming content, social media, online shopping and the ability to connect with friends and family via messaging apps.
"We are incredibly proud to have brought together leading Emirati and global companies to achieve this milestone,” said Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer of Yahsat. “It paves the way for Yahsat to bring further breakthrough technologies to the markets and segments it serves, adding another key pillar to Yahsat’s portfolio of market leading services and solutions.”
Following this successful test, selected guests will be invited to experience the ultra- fast connectivity for themselves, onboard an Etihad Airways Flying Testbed Airbus A320 aircraft at the Dubai Airshow taking place from the 12th to 16th of November. Subsequently, Yahsat and its partners plan to execute the key next steps over the coming year to rollout the solution to commercial airliners across the Middle East, and beyond.
Saleem Al Blooshi, Chief Infrastructure Officer at du said the operator’s partnership with Yahsat is a “testament to our commitment towards adding life to life through innovative new technologies, and we are pleased to be a part of such a monumental step in aviation history. This partnership will allow us to establish the necessary infrastructure needed to keep passengers comfortably connected in the air through the latest and most advanced in-flight connectivity.”
Al Blooshi added, “We believe that together we will set the benchmark for high speed WiFi in the air and we look forward to enhancing our customer experiences like never before. Furthermore, we are introducing our state of the art Data Analytics as well as our Backend systems to this innovative In-Flight WiFi which enables the Airline Industry to use such analytics of the user behavior to enhance even further the customer experiences on board airplanes.”
UAE telecom company Etisalat Group, which operates and owns subsidiaries in Middle East, Africa and Asia, released its consolidated financial statement on October 25 for the three months ending 30 September. Consolidated net profit after Federal Royalty amounted to AED 2.4 billion resulting in a net profit margin of 19 percent and increased year-on-year by 29 percent. The company’s consolidated revenues amounted to AED 12.9 billion.
Etisalat Group’s UAE branch saw a 3 percent revenue increase year-on-year amounting to AED 7.6 billion. The UAE branch’s net profit amounted to AED 2.0 billion representing 4 percent increase year-on-year. Etisalat’s UAE subscriber base grew 2 percent year-on-year to reach 12.5 million. The company’s aggregate subscriber base reached 140 million up slightly from 139 million in Q2.
“Etisalat continues to deliver solid performance in the third quarter, despite the prevailing global economic challenges and the vastly transforming industry,” said Etisalat Group CEO Saleh Al Abdooli. “We are on the verge of entering a new era, which transcends any technological disruption we ever witnessed, and will be altering and reshaping our society and industry on a large scale.”
In Q3 2017, Etisalat signed a strategic partnership as part of Dubai Future Accelerators program to bring future medical care solutions to UAE and the MENA region. The company successfully completed the fastest 5G live trial globally reaching 71Gbps, and launched 4G services in Egypt through its subsidiary Etisalat Misr. Etisalat also launched a new brand ‘Swyp’ targeting youth in UAE.
“Etisalat is confidently moving forward and progressing positively in enriching lives and enabling societies across its footprint,” said Mr. Al Abdooli. “As a group, we will always assure a vigorous portfolio that is generating synergy, focusing on customer experience, growing value, and operating as one family.”
Mr. Al Abdooli added, “As we look back at our achievements, we sense and honor the great support that was extended to us by the wise leadership of the UAE, who did not only enable the creation of a world class telecom sector, but are also leading the way and acting as role models in technology adoption. Appreciation is also extended to our shareholders and loyal customer, to whom we owe more success and greater achievements.”
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.
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.”
UAE’s Etisalat Group, which operates and owns subsidiaries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, posted its Q2 financial results for 2017. The Group’s consolidated revenues amounted to AED 25.3 billion, according to the statement.
The Group’s consolidated operating profit before Federal Royalty dropped about 11 percent to AED 8.8 billion, and its global subscriber base also dropped around 15 percent, according to analyst calculations. The UAE remains a strongpoint for the operator, where both its revenues and subscriber base increased.
In the statement, Etisalat did not provide quarterly breakdowns for its financials for the quarter. The operator’s financial statements were not immediately posted on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange’s website. Etisalat proposed a dividend of 40 fils per share for the first half of 2017, unchanged from the previous two years.
UAE is Etisalat’s strongest operation, where its customer base increased 2 percent. The operator’s revenue in the UAE also increased to AED 2.2 billion, representing a 6 percent increase year over year and 7 percent increase compared to Q1 2017. But Etisalat’s aggregate subscriber base fell to 139 million across its footprint, compared to 163 million for the same period last year.
Etisalat thanked the United Arab Emirates for its “continued support” in the statement, and also thanked the company’s management team for their efforts in remaining focused on accelerating the operator’s long-term strategy to drive shareholder value. Etisalat also thanked its “loyal customers” for inspiring the company to set new benchmarks and reach new business heights.
The CEO expressed his pride in the company for being a “key strategic player in major digital transformation projects in the UAE and beyond. Our recent announcement of the longest submarine cable system is another step to enhance our long-term growth and bring new capacity to UAE making it an international hub.” Abdooli was referring to Etisalat’s role in enhancing international connectivity to UAE with the AAE-1 Submarine Cable System.
Etisalat Group’s results were affected by its recent cut with ties to Etisalat Nigeria, in Africa’s most populous market, after the country’s currency dropped which led to Etisalat’s subsidiary defaulting on loan payments. The loan Etisalat Nigeria received was to refinance a $650 million loan and fund expansion of the operator’s network.
Etisalat reportedly “pulled out” and intervened in the loan renegotiation talks to prevent job losses and asset stripping. Etisalat Nigeria has since been rebranded as 9mobile and is actively looking for bidders.
Professional Communication Corporation Nedaa, the Dubai Government security networks provider, has announced that it has signed an agreement with Nokia formally designating Dubai as the headquarters of their pioneering Innovation and Creativity Lab.
In December 2016, Nedaa and Nokia formed a strategic partnership to develop the lab as a key contributor to Dubai’s ‘Smart City’ initiative envisioned by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The region’s first-of-its-kind research and innovation hub will introduce creative solutions for education, health, utilities and transport, with local government agencies, the Smart Dubai project, educational and healthcare institutions, and private companies involved in the development and implementation of Smart City applications as primary beneficiaries.
A key stipulation under the Nedaa-Nokia agreement is the Emiratisation of all positions and jobs and the training and qualification of employed UAE Nationals to international standards.
Nokia will also grant Nedaa and approved technology partner Esharah Etisalat Security Solutions access to its advanced radio systems and Intelligent Management Platform for All Connected Things (IMPACT), the company’s innovative Internet of Things (IoT) platform.
These and other industry-leading Nokia technologies will be used to create new IoT platforms and applications as well as solutions for next-generation Internet Protocol (IP) and wireless connectivity, security, big data, and analytics.
“Now, we can start following our cooperative roadmap with Nokia to help accelerate Dubai’s transformation into a truly Smart City,” said Mansoor Bu Osaiba, CEO, Nedaa. “We will be bringing top Emirati talents onboard in keeping with the UAE’s vision of empowering its citizens to proactively participate in key sectors such as information and communications technology (ICT) that will underpin country’s transition to a Post-Oil Era. We look forward to commencing the lab’s operations within the next few months.”
Amr El-Leithy, Head of Middle East & Africa, Nokia, said: “After months of scouting we now have a worthy base of operations for our Innovation and Creativity Lab from where we will partner with Nedaa to innovate Dubai’s ICT landscape. This latest development takes us several steps closer towards achieving Dubai’s dream of an inclusive, connected and technology-empowered society.”
Other salient provisions under the Nedaa-Nokia Innovation and Creativity Lab partnership include the training of the Dubai Government’s employees and fourth-generation technicians; development, testing and deployment of IoT communications interface operations through approved networks from Nedaa; and the enrichment of national intellectual property through support for research and development.
The highly-anticipated Nedaa-Nokia Innovation and Creativity Lab is scheduled to start operations within the next few months. This will be the right platform for local innovative initiatives and accelerating SME across the UAE.
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC (“du”) published its financial results on July 25 for the quarter ended 30 June 2017, and announced its plans to distribute AED 589.3 million of interim dividends to its shareholders for the first half of 2017 at 13 fils per share, subject to approval at the General Meeting in September 2017.
In its published financial results for the second quarter of 2017, the company delivered AED 3.26 billion in Revenue, up 6.2% from AED 3.07 billion in Q2 2016. Net Profit before royalty was AED 974 million for the period.
“EITC has made steady progress in the second quarter of 2017, with a 6.2% increase in Revenue and a slight improvement in Net Profit,” said CEO Osman Sultan. “Driven by growth in handset sales, wholesale and fixed revenues, total Revenue reached AED 3.26 billion in Q2 2017, representing a 6.2% increase over the same period last year. Revenue has also shown growth over the first six months of the year with a 4.3% increase to AED 6.42 billion.
Mr. Sultan added that the company’s mobile customer base increased 1.5% during Q2 2017 to 8.2 million customers, up from 8.1 million in Q2 2016. This was largely due, he said, to the company’s strategy of focusing more on attracting and retaining higher quality customers, with solid growth in post-paid customer additions.
Despite a steady performance during the quarter and the first half of the year, EITC continues to be impacted by challenging market conditions, Mr. Sultan added, with pressure on mobile rates and data monetization. Consequently, EBITDA and Net Profit stand at the same level as Q2 2016.
“Looking towards a smart future, we have made further investments into Smart Dubai, the Virgin Mobile brand and adjacent markets,” he said. “We will continue to invest in the future generation capacity of the business; EITC is a digital enabler and will be able to create new revenue opportunity as digital transformation for both consumers and enterprises opens up new markets.”
A major highlight for the second quarter of the year for EITC was its progress with the introduction of the Virgin Mobile brand. During the period, the company began a program of pre-launch customer registration and conducted trial tests.
“We enrolled a few select number of UAE residents to test the product and its customer service, and are happy with the feedback received,” said Mr. Sultan. “We look forward to the full commercial launch of the Virgin Mobile brand in the UAE soon, and with it, bringing a fully digital and premium customer experience.”
He concluded, “Our results are backed by our commitment to the future development of a digitally-enabled ecosystem. During the period, we achieved a milestone development in connectivity technology, with the successful testing of a 5G solution that will significantly upgrade connectivity speed for our users. With this initiative and more to come, we remain committed to a smart future, and the Government’s vision for a smart nation.”
Dubai is fast moving toward achieving its goal of becoming the world’s first government to execute all implementable transactions on blockchain by 2020, an international expert on blockchain has said.
“Private sector enterprises, which stand to gain due to potential synergies with the government, are also gearing up and early adopters and first to market with this technology will have definite first mover advantages,” Dan Frankel, Blockchain City Adviser to the Emirate of Dubai, ConsenSys, told Chief Information Officers (CIOs) at the recently held CIOMajlis session on ‘Blockchain Technology’.
CIOMajlis is an initiative by Smartworld, an Etisalat and Dubai South joint venture company, focused on bringing Chief Information Officers (CIOs) from public and private sector companies in the UAE on a common platform to share international best practices and explore business solutions in line with the UAE’s Innovation Strategy and the government’s goal to make it the world’s most innovative country by 2021.
Ahmad Al Mulla, Chairman of CIOMajlis, said: “Dubai is a frontrunner in adopting the latest technology and has set a goal to become the world’s first government to execute all implementable transactions on the blockchain by 2020. The government initiatives in this direction present tremendous business opportunities for the private sector in the UAE.
“There is a current global shortage of object oriented programmers and developers,” he added. “We need to ensure sufficient availability of trained manpower and as these opportunities are accruing across all sectors, we will see a lot of blockchain implementation in near future across government as well as private sectors.”
Worldwide, the market size for Blockchain is projected to grow from $210 million in 2016 to over $2.3 billion by 2021. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, launched the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which is focused on exploring and evaluating the latest technology innovations that demonstrate an opportunity to deliver more seamless, safe, efficient, and impactful city experiences.
Adoption of Blockchain is estimated to result in over AED 5.5 billion savings annually towards streamlining document processing alone. ConsenSys has been named as the official Blockchain Advisor for the City of Dubai and will be working in collaboration with government officials along with IBM, the project’s Lead Strategic Partner.
Explaining the potential benefits that embracing Blockchain can bring, Frankel said blockchain technologies could reduce banks transaction costs by $15-20 billion a year by 2022, and as it removes costs of intermediaries, manual processing, re-work and processing errors, it could generate a potential savings of as high as 75 percent.
He said blockchain technology will transform every major market in the world by significantly reducing infrastructure costs, fraud and fee, thus driving the growth of global market share at an unprecedented rate. The first industries that will be transformed by blockchain will include financial services and real estate, technology, media and telecommunications, energy and resources, consumer and industrial products.
“Early adopters and first to market with this technology will have a strategic advantage,” he added.
Frankel said that to facilitate availability of trained manpower in Blockchain technology, ConsenSys will launch, ‘ConsenSys Academy’, a highly selective and immersive online blockchain training program that prepares developers to enter this rapidly growing technology field. The graduates will be flown after graduation to Dubai to receive their certificates and offered jobs in the Dubai Blockchain initiative.
UAE ride-hailing services company Careem has invested $500,000 in a start-up entity which focuses on connecting commuters with private buses in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. Careem, which is seen as Middle East rival to global ride-hailing colossus Uber, acquired the minority stake in SWVL after weeks of negotiations. It has also been disclosed that in addition to the investment, CEO and co-founder of Careem, Magnus Olsson will also join the board of SWVL.
SWVL is only three-months old, but has already generated the interest of prospective investors after making an immediate impact in the transportation sector in Egypt. Careem, which operates in 12 countries, mainly in the Middle East will look to accelerate SWVL operations, although it declined to disclose the exact size of its minority stake in the organization.
SWVL was founded by a former Careem executive in April, and the company provides a bus transportation service which enables passengers to reserve and pay their fare through SWVL’s mobile application. The application formulates and maps the shortest journey time home based on the passenger’s location and destination by identifying the nearest bus station that travels along fixed routes.
Careem CEO expressed his desire to see the Egyptian start-up develop quickly, and he believes the best way of enabling that is by keeping the entity independent. Olsson said, “We want them to run and learn and develop at a very high pace and high agility and we believe the best way for them to do that is to stay independent.”
Careem announced last month that it had raised $500m from investors such as German car manufacturer Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding. It said the investment would help them accelerate their expansion plans. SWVL is unlike Careem and Uber in the sense that it isn’t an on-demand service, but it has a strong foundation of over 50,000 passenger and 200 buses using the mobile application.
Chief executive of SWVL, Mostafa Kondil said its primary objective is to really improve the product and disclosed that it is targeting 300,000 monthly trips by the end of 2017. Analysts have suggested that SWVL will utilize the investment made by Careem in order to increase its workforce, develop new app features and expand into other cities beyond Cairo, and to Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan next year.