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Etisalat Misr use data to grow

Company has become major player in Egypt mobile market through use of data and analytics

Etisalat Misr use data to grow
Mohamed Abdel Rahim Ismaiel head of enterprise information management at Etisalat Misr says that the company has become a leading force in the mobile market in Egypt due to its Teradata solutions.

Etisalat Misr, the newest entrant on the mobile phone market in Egypt has already gained a sizable market share since starting in 2007, according to Mohamed Abdel Rahim Ismaiel, head of enterprise information management at Etisalat Misr.

He says this gain in market share was partly due to the use of Teradata and the collection of consumer data, allowing the company to predict and create deals that would attract more users to Etisalat Misr.

"We are a strong believer that the information is the blood of the company, therefore we are capitalising on having solutions that are helping the business now and in the future to manage our customer expectations, as well as to retain our subscribers," said Ismaiel.

Both Etisalat Misr and one of its rivals, Mobilink, are using the same Teradata solutions, but according to Ismaiel, Mobilink is not fully leveraging its system.

"Mobilink has the same solution, they followed us after one year and they acquired the same [Teradata] solution, but they are not as matured as we are because they are not getting the complete power to get the information and are not as timely. To get the answers for them takes a lot of time and that is affecting their business," he said.

Etisalat is currently using  Teradata solutions in five of its operations worldwide, including  Xcelicom in Indonesia, Ufone in Pakistan, Swan in India, Etisalat UAE and Etisalat Misr. Ufone was the first to adopt Teradata followed by Etisalat Misr. While these five operators do not currently share high-level data, they are working on it, according to Ismaiel.

 "We are in the process of sharing high-level data between territories, but at the moment we are sharing some resources, sharing some consultancy, with Etisalat Misr helping the others in some issues," said Ismaiel.

Etisalat Misr is keen to protect customer data from being poached by other companies or stolen by the ever-increasing numbers of hackers looking for company data, but are working on getting data from both Vodafone Egypt and Mobilink via analytics that will gather data on calls made to Etisalat Misr from other networks and from Etisalat Misr to other networks.

"It is not easy to get the information from competitors but we are considering some poaching of data by analysing the information of our subscribers when they are calling or when they are calling other operators," said Ismaiel.

The company will analyse the data gathered and then create dedicated campaigns and offers to lure customers from other subscribers.

The laws in Egypt are very strict in protecting customer information and Ismaiel says it is very difficult for anyone, including researchers to gather data from Etisalat Misr.

The company, when it does give out data, only gives the customer's name or number without any linking information. Etisalat Misr also has a masking programme which prevents anyone from correlating a mobile number with an address or name.

"We are actually protecting customer information because the laws in Egypt consider this and they are very restricted. It is classified confidential information and no one has access to this information, it is not possible in Etisalat. If someone would like to have the information of a specific customer, we have a processes and specific approvals and logs. If the customer is complaining we know who disclosed this information," said Ismaiel.

However, the head of enterprise information management could not comment on whether the rules were the same for government organisations in terms of access to private customer information.

"I don't have answer for this," he said.

Despite the increase in hacking attacks and denial of service attacks in Egypt since the political unrest, Etisalat has not felt it necessary to step up their data security controls, saying that its infrastructure is already strong enough.

"We have a very strong infrastructure from IT perspective protecting our network from the hackers and actually we are hiring some hackers to try and hack in, there are a lot of firewalls, it is protected," said Ismaiel.

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