BT and Etisalat to establish research hub

ICT centre at Kahlifa University to research and spinout new network technologies

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By  Roger Field Published  March 12, 2008

Etisalat has signed an agreement with UK telecom operator BT and Khalifa University in Sharjah, to establish a joint ICT research centre in the UAE.

The centre, which is expected to become one of the largest ICT research labs in the Middle East, will form collaborations with industry, universities and government bodies in a bid to spin out new technologies.

The aim of the centre, which will be based at Khalifa University, is to encourage international partnerships and research into sectors including next generation networks, systems and services.

"It is designed to be a growth engine for telecoms innovation in the Middle East," Mike Witts, a spokesman for BT, told CommsMEA. "It will have a relatively broad remit but it will focus on next-generation broadband technology and next generation networks."

While Etisalat and BT were unable to confirm how much money they intend to invest in the centre, it is expected to become a significant driver of innovation, and will perform a similar role, albeit on a smaller scale, to BT's main research hub at Adastral Park, in the UK, according to Witts.

Ahmed Abdulkarim Julfar, Etisalat's chief operations officer, added that the centre is likely to help his company capitalize on new innovations that might otherwise have languished.

"The establishment of this centre will enable Etisalat to drive its growth through innovation and to connect emerging technologies to business advantage," he said. "This will no doubt emphasise Etisalat's competitive position as one of the major telecommunication companies in the world."

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