Reaching out to billions

Telco heavyweights discussed changing market conditions at Telecoms World Middle East in Dubai. CommsMEA reports.

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By  Administrator Published  December 10, 2007

As the major oil-exporting region of the world, Middle East executives need no reminder of the nature of the globalised marketplace, and the telecommunications industry is certainly no exception.

And with ‘market liberalisation' the current buzzword of the sector in the region, UAE incumbent telco Etisalat used the recent event to unveil its carrier wholesale services, as part of its continued bid to establish itself as a player in the international telecommunications market.

The East Middle, Africa and South Asia are witnessing massive growth in demand for retail telecom services.

The company announced its ambitions to tie-up with global telecommunications companies and neighbouring telcos by leveraging its network infrastructure to become a global hub for telecommunications services.

Our carrier and wholesale services has created a voice, data and mobile service hub in the UAE, to broaden the choice available to international telcos," says Ali Ameeri, executive vice president, of Etisalat's carrier and wholesale business. Ameeri also stresses that Etisalat's portfolio of services offers a scaleable solution to business partners and notes the commercial benefits of pairing with a company possessing an understanding of the dynamics of the local market.

By partnering with Etisalat, operators can benefit from our local presence and in return we can offer a deep understanding of the unique nature of their requirements," says Ameeri.

Previously, the region's operators have been somewhat dependant upon European and North American carriers to extend their global reach," he adds.

The company's portfolio of services includes advanced data services such as IP transit and advanced MPLS-VPN services targeted towards the enterprise segment.

Ameeri also reveals that the company's latest portfolio of services was introduced to pre-empt the anticipated growth in international voice and data traffic within Gulf countries.

The Middle East, Africa and South Asia are witnessing massive growth in demand for retail telecom services. The same dynamics driving this growth are also driving the growth in wholesale services," he asserts.

With GSM subscribers expected to pass the three billion mark in 2009, Ameeri notes how Etisalat is using its expanding network infrastructure and global footprint to drive its burgeoning carrier and wholesale business.

Etisalat chairman Mohammad Omran reveals that the company's investments in submarine cabling are part of its original roadmap of establishing the UAE as an internet hub for the region.

Omran highlights how the company's 15% stake in the US$82 million submarine cable linking Kenya and the UAE is symbolic of its intentions to establish the Gulf state as "the centre of the global internet".

He also adds that Etisalat will take part in similar projects in future, intimating that the company intends to invest as much as $5 billion in improving internet connections in Africa.

He adds that "there is no taboo market" for the company to invest in, highlighting that submarine cabling and wholesale carrier services might be used as a means of driving the company's interest in the Asian market.

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