DIC keen for telecomms competition
Ahmad Bin Byat says that DIC is ready to play a part in any second telecomms operator in the UAE.
The director general of the Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (DTMFZ) has confirmed his organisation’s interest in becoming a telecomms services provider.
Since the announcement earlier this year that Etisalat will face competition, speculation has been rife that DIC would have a stake in any potential competitor to the current state monopoly.
“We are ready to play a part in a second operator; we have ambitions as a telco,” said Ahmad Bin Byat, director general of DTMFZ, which comprises Dubai Internet City, Knowledge Village and Dubai Media City. “We have the capability. However, when we do it, it will be as a regional, not just a local, player.”
He declined, however, to discuss when the UAE’s telecomms regulator would release firm details on how competition might work. Bin Byat is part of a supreme committee that advises the recently created regulator. He was clear, however, that he sees competition as the best way to lower prices and raise the quality of telecomms services.
In an open Q&A with journalists at Gitex yesterday, Bin Byat also talked about the planned Dubai Outsourcing Zone (DOZ.) The DOZ, he stressed, will not be positioned as an alternative to Indian locations like Bangalore for companies seeking low cost call centre services. “Our aim is not to compete with India,” said Bin Byat.
“Rather than call centre operations, we will be focusing on high end business processes serving organisations such as law firms, accountants and consultancies.” One differentiator for companies in DOZ, he added, will be multi-lingual capabilities, making Europe a natural target market for their outsourced services. Bin Byat said that Egypt, blessed with abundant labour and plenty of IT graduates, should be looking to develop itself into the Middle East’s call centre and programming hub.
“We will remain the region’s sales and marketing hub because this is a natural area of expertise for us,” said Bin Byat. “We will not be like India. That role should be played by Egypt.” Asked why that hadn’t happened, Bin Byat said that government entities in many parts of the Arab world have been less agile than DIC.
In an effort to promote IT in the region, DIC joined the Assembly of Professionals and Technicians in Lebanon this week to launch the Pan Arab Web Awards. The Awards are supported by Microsoft and the Business Software Alliance (BSA.)
The objective of the competition is to evaluate web sites all over the Arab world and honour individuals or teams that have designed and developed the best. Organisations and individuals are eligible to participate in the awards. To take part, visit: www.panarabwebawards.org.
The deadline for the submission of entries is January 31, 2005. The winners of the awards will be honoured at a ceremony on February 25, 2005 in DIC.