du ties up with MBC on mobile content provision

UAE telco operator to offer exclusive MBC content on mobile phones during Ramadan.

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By  Michele Howe Published  September 12, 2007

UAE telecoms service provider du is putting its money on mobile content as the battle for subscribers heats up.

The operator has teamed up with Middle East broadcasting company MBC to offer exclusive mobile content to subscribers on du's network during the Islamic month of Ramadan.

"Years ago the main challenge for telco operators was mobility. In a country where mobile penetration is beyond 100%, the challenge is different," said du CEO Osman Sultan announcing the partnership at GITEX. "Now people want to say not only I can be mobile but I want everything, everywhere."

Sultan said du had invested over $2 million in the partnership.

"Mobile phones offer the convenience of portability and we are glad to partner with du to see popular TV shows such as Tash Ma Tash, Baini Wo Bainak and Land of the Prophets come alive for the very first time on mobile phones," commented Dr Ammar Bakkar group new media director for MBC, also speaking at GITEX.

MBC said that it was looking to enter into similar arrangements with other telecom operators in the region.

Du subscribers, which currently number nearly 850,000, need a 3G phone to access the MBC content, which can be done either by downloading or streaming.

The content, some of which will be available on an exclusive basis to du mobile users, includes four minute TV episodes from three MBC shows Tash Ma Tash, Baini Wo Bainak and Land of the Prophets.

Commenting on the impact of the partnership on revenue, Sultan said this was not the main motivation behind the agreement. "I don't think either of us rely on this as a main source of revenue - for that, we at du rely on voice. But we need to get started, and be part of the trend," he said.

With mobile number portability expected to be available from spring next year, meaning mobile users can switch their numbers to the other operator, du increasingly needs to come up with innovative ways to hold onto its customers and lure subscribers away from Etisalat.

Sultan said the agreement with MBC was only the start of the partnership, and that it was likely to be extended.

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