Etisalat: Investing in Content-Related Solutions, Particularly in the Fields of Mobile Health and Electronic Education

Etisalat has established a group function to negotiate on behalf of all 18 of its operators and this is helping the telecom operator strengthen its relationship with technology vendors and help secure a competitive price point. Amaru Chavez, Group CTO OF Etisalat, shares his vision for the company.


What are your key demands from technology vendors?


Etisalat is a long-term investor in the telecoms sector and has the customer at the core of its vision. Our strategic partners must foremost share this approach and philosophy and be committed to identifying new innovations that will help us to delight our subscribers.


In terms of practical elements, technology vendors must provide solutions which are readily adaptable to new innovative trends, scalable, secure and robust. In case their technologies are customer-facing, then they must also be user-friendly and intuitive.



All of this must be provided in a partnership which is both transparent, mutually beneficial and which adds increasing value to our customers in the most efficient manner possible.



Many operators are innovating their services and offerings. What are the latest innovations from Etisalat?



Etisalat is one of the most innovative operators on the planet, and has been widely recognized for its leadership in regional and global industry awards.


This is not a recent development, and Etisalat was one of the first operators in the world to introduce a mobile service in the early 1980s. We have also invested in international cable routes and the infrastructure to enable secure international connectivity between Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Add to this the formation of various support companies



We have built the infrastructure on which millions communicate every day using voice and data. This includes both wireless and fixed-line technologies such as fiber optic and mobile broadband including CDMA, LTE and HSDPA. 



Today the opportunity is to deliver new services and applications across this network, and in particular content related services. Etisalat has the capabilities to provide content services for music, games and news across a variety of media and is also investing in various digital home and smart building technologies to take this even further. The most recent developments are in television entertainment, where Etisalat is providing High Definition and 3DTV to its UAE customers.



Etisalat is also investing and developing other content-related solutions, particularly in the fields of Mobile Health and electronic education. These will have a major impact on our region helping to reduce the cost, and increase access to a wealth of resources which will have a direct impact on the general economy as well as the community as a whole.



As a CIO/CTO, what are your main challenges?



Bringing a new service to market quickly is by far the most important aspect of our job. Being the first-mover in any new category is more important in telecoms than in any other industry as the barriers for competitors to replicate your service or innovation are relatively low. The faster we are able to deploy, the more clear air our product or service will have meaning the more successful it will be.



We are constantly looking for ways to enhance and streamline our operations and the transition to a Group structure is helping us to achieve this across all of our international markets.



Abu Dhabi is now the first capital city in the world entirely connected to fibre optic networks. What are your next goals?



Bringing broadband across our region is an important goal, whether this is through mobile or fixed-line. We have recently announced the introduction of 3.5G services in Sri Lanka and will soon launch 3G in Nigeria as well. This means that our high-speed data networks will cover eight African, Asian and Middle East markets using a mix of CDMA, fiber optic and GSM standards. We are committed to being the regional leader in broadband and we believe that this is the way forward for our markets.



What will be impact from business customers?



Corporate headquarters require robust and high-bandwidth connectivity to their regional offices as well as their international hubs. This is only possible with the latest technologies and this is why we have committed to deploy fiber optic in the UAE, and in other markets. This provides the UAE, and other markets in which we have deployed this technology, an edge when it comes to attracting foreign investment.



Do you see prices of technology products coming down in coming months?



The long-term trend in technology is for prices to fall. We have established a Group function to negotiate on behalf of all 18 of our operators and this is helping us to strengthen our relationship with major technology vendors and help secure a competitive price point. We have since negotiated agreements with the world’s largest and most innovative companies and this is helping us to establish a leading position in each of our markets.



By Baburajan K
[email protected]