Rewarding Excellence

CommsMEA Awards 2007 is set to be an even larger event and given the strength of the sector in the region participants in next year’s event are likely to only raise the bar of excellence even further.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  September 20, 2006

|~||~||~|CommsMEA’s inaugural awards ceremony brought together over 300 industry leaders in order to acknowledge the individuals and organisations that have steered the sector to ever-greater heights over the last year. Fourteen prestigious awards were handed out at the gala event held at a Dubai hotel, and winners from across the region were present to accept their accolades. Inmarsat, for instance, was deemed to be the best provider of universal services in the region, based on the mobile satellite company’s relentless pursuit of wider coverage and the provision of greater access to both voice and data connections. The judging panel, comprising Mohsen Malaki of IDC, Jawad Abbassi of Arab Advisors Group and Rogier van Driessche of Delta Partners, deliberated over a short-list of nominations in each category in order to arrive at their final decisions. In some cases the task of choosing one bidder over another was especially difficult given the quality of the submissions. MTC Group, one of the region’s most expansive operators came away with the largest haul of awards for the night, winning in four categories. Its acquisition of pan-African operator Celtel International was deemed to be the deal of the year, while its Jordanian operator, Fastlink, was named the winner of the most innovative non-voice service for its mobile blog application. MTC was also commended as the Middle East’s mobile operator of the year, an accolade that was well deserved given the impressive operational and strategic progress the operator has made in the last year. Mo Ibrahim, Celtel’s founder and chairman, was awarded the lifetime achievement award, given the success of his company to spread communications across the African continent. Speaking of Africa, South Africa’s MTN was awarded the prize as Africa’s mobile operator of the year, and given its impressive acquisition of Investcom earlier this year, it comes as no surprise that it was singled out as Africa’s thoroughbred performer. UAE incumbent Etisalat, which is undergoing a massive change in culture and market outlook in the face of the looming entry of competition, was rewarded with two prizes. The judging panel deemed Etisalat’s improved customer care credentials to be the best in the region this year, and also considered the operator’s overall business strategy worthy of selection as the overall operator of the year. However, the night was not only about recognising the largest operators in the region. Roshan, Afghanistan’s leading mobile operator was singled out as the leading brand in the region, a significant achievement given the challenging operating conditions present in that market. Oman Mobile was presented with the award for new telecoms service of the year in acknowledgment of its innovative mobile parking service. Further a field, Wateen Telecom in Pakistan, an affiliate of Warid Telecom, was commended for its investment in technology, given its plan to develop a WiMAX network across the country. Mobily, Etisalat’s investment in Saudi Arabia was confirmed as the new entrant of the year. It was a prize that supported the operator’s success in adding subscribers rapidly and having a marked impact on the range of services available in the kingdom. Operating in one of the most liberalised markets in the region, Batelco was named best fixed line operator in the region for its deft use of technology in order to defend its market share. Egypt's LINKdotNET was the deserving winner of the ISP of the year award. CommsMEA Awards 2007 is set to be an even larger event and given the strength of the sector in the region participants in next year’s event are likely to only raise the bar of excellence even further. ||**||

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