Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, the parent of the brand du which was launched ten years ago, announced the launch of Virgin Mobile in the UAE on January 31 in Dubai. EITC chief executive Osman Sultan stressed the fact that Virgin Mobile is not being launched as a new telecom operator in the UAE, but a new brand under EITC, aiming to cater to digital natives who live on their mobile phones. More details of the services that Virgin Mobile will offer in the UAE will come soon.
"It gives me great pleasure and great happiness to launch another brand by EITC, and that brand is Virgin Mobile," said Mr. Sultan at the press conference. "A new baby is born for EITC and we are privileged that we have the use of this brand. I think that everybody knows the Virgin Mobile brand and everybody knows we thrive for being customer-centric. We believe this makes perfect sense and it's a perfect match."
During the announcement, Mr. Sultan introduced Karim Benkirane, Managing Director of Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa, who previously held the CEO position at Virgin Mobile KSA. Karim will be the "Managing Director of Virgin Mobile UAE in charge of operations working within EITC and reporting to me," said Mr. Sultan. He said in a few weeks more details about what services the Virgin Mobile brand will offer in the UAE will be released.
"I'm really proud to be part of EITC," said Mr. Benkirane. "I'm really proud to be part of this historic moment in this country. Virgin Mobile is a global brand and it's a consumer mobile brand. We have great experience in so many countries and we are trying to bring this experience and our expertise to the UAE market. We want to bring a differentiated experience, one that truly embraces digitalization."
"Digital transformation is our main focus and we believe that the digital revolution has changed completely our needs, so there is a niche market of people who live their lives on mobile, and Virgin would like to make their lives much easier and also make sure that we can make mobile better," Mr. Benkirane added.
EITC has full ownership, management, and operation of Virgin Mobile in the UAE, said Mr. Sultan. "Let me be very clear: This is not a third operator," he explained. "This is not a new license. This is not an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). EITC is introducing another brand - Virgin Mobile - after having acquired the rights to use the Virgin brand in the United Arab Emirates."
Sultan stressed the importance of understanding that the new brand doesn't represent a new telecom operator. No entity other than ETIC has any stake in the operations of the new brand. Just like du, Virgin Mobile will use the network and other infrastructure of EITC. It has the right to use the brand in the UAE.
All customer contracts, like du customers, will be in the name of EITC, the license operator, which eleven years ago, signed a contract with the TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority). EITC became a telecom operator in the UAE before the du brand existed. All regulatory obligations within the framework will be under the responsibility of EITC.
"Within EITC, we created a separate business unit," said Sultan, explaining the origins of Virgin Mobile as part of EITC. "This unit will do all of the marketing and interfacing, sales, customer care, product development, looking at customer experience, etc."
"In 2017, we are now in a world that is fast-changing, and I don't think I need a lot of words to convince you that this change is really radical," said Mr. Sultan, discussing the varying needs of digital natives today. "There is nothing that we do in our daily lives that is not being transformed by this digital universe," he said, adding that there is a need for customers to have services converged more smoothly - interconnected and converged services. Therefore, Virgin Mobile could be the answer for this.
Sultan said he has been observing the world we live in today, which ultimately led him to launch a new brand in the UAE similar to how EITC- a licensed operator - launched du ten years ago. "Launching another brand alongside du will cater to the needs of a segment and will be appealing to a large segment of the market and will fit totally with the DNA of EITC," he said.
"Almost ten years ago, EITC launched telecom services through the du brand," said Sultan, reflecting on the success of du. "It is true that we were not the first in this country or this region as a telco. But we have a solid history of firsts, certainly in this region and probably at a global level."
EITC was one of the first operators to offer Full Triple Play, and was one of the first operators globally to have used a full optical fiber network to go to homes or to businesses. Using fiber was a bet, but it was the right bet, said Sultan.
EITC was also the first operator in the region to offer Pay by the Second, and was the first to launch a multiple benefit recharge card. "Because we are dedicated to the UAE market, as a telecom operator, we were also the first to launch an Emirati plan dedicated to the specific needs of Emiratis," said Sultan.
"We look at our customers and we are driven by their needs, by what they like, what they want," he said. "We were the first to start payment on mobile, which indicated the way we were seeing how these instruments we carry will become transformative in our lives, and that you can do much more than just receive calls or send messages. We are an integral part of the social and economic fabric of the country."
"We were one of the first in the world to roll our Fiber to the Home (FTTH) - this is now mainstream for all telcos," Mr. Sultan continued. "On the other side of the spectrum, we were the first to deploy smart street lights in Dubai Silicon Oasis recently. Also, we are very proud to be the partner of the Dubai Smart Office, and proud that we launched WiFi UAE all across the nation. We are proud to be an enabler of this journey."
For more information on EITC's new brand 'Virgin Mobile', visit: www.virginmobile.ae