Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) have emerged as the ideal choice to meet the increasing in-building wireless coverage demand and provide the expected quality of experience (QoE), said Mr. Ayman Raba, managing director & CEO at Kathrein Middle East, speaking to Telecom Review.

Read more: KBOW & IoT: The new era of Kathrein’s solutions

Mobile chipset/platform manufacturer Qualcomm plays an important role in facilitating the next generation mobile technology platform and the internet of things (IoT). As a leading partner of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), Qualcomm enables emerging smartphone brands and connected device manufacturers to expand their global market and product footprint beyond phones into connected ecosystems, explains Jay Srage, President East Europe and MEA, Qualcomm, speaking to Telecom Review.

Read more: Qualcomm’s role in facilitating the next generation mobile ecosystem

Analyzing data is essential to successful smart city services, Labib Matta, chief business officer at NXN, told Telecom Review. Once a smart city consulting firm, NXN has grown into a full-fledged digital service provider with a list of heavyweight clients. Smart data analytics is the "key cornerstone" of NXN's services, said Matta - the essential component of its growing digital services portfolio.

Read more: Big data at the heart of NXN’s smart city as a service offering

Telecom Operators

CEO of Etisalat Group, Mr. Hatem Dowidar, has issued a public statement highlighting the reasons it has taken the difficult decision of exiting the Nigerian market. According to the Etisalat CEO, despite the fundamentals to support growth and increase mobile penetration, Nigeria’s macroeconomic conditions, steep currency, devaluation and market challenges have subsequently had a detrimental impact preventing ‘EMTS’ continuing its ambitious growth plan.

The statement read as follows:  “As a publicly listed company, Etisalat Maintains the highest internationally acknowledged reporting standards to the market and its annual reports. Etisalat Group follows prudent investment decisions and acts responsibly to protect its shareholder's interests.

Etisalat Group entered the Nigerian market in 2008 through EMTS, following the procurement of a 15-year Universal Access Service License (UASL) in 2007 by Mubadala. At the time, Nigeria was widely regarded as one of the most strategically important telecom growth markets in Africa with the largest population in the region, yet a low mobile penetration of just 20 per cent.

The company reported EBITDA positive in less than four years of operations and has since become the fastest growing telecommunications network in the country. In 2014-2015 the company witnessed record growth of 18% achieving subscriber base of 22 million Subscribers.

Etisalat progression to reach critical mass brought a significant growth of EBITDA and, more importantly, lifted its free cash flow from negative to positive. In summary, before the full impact of FX deterioration, Etisalat management was delivering sustainable and profitable growth.

On top of uncertain business climate, regulatory issues, irrational behavior of some competitors, which entered into a price war most notably around Data tariffs, limited the ability of the company to move prices upwards to balance for inflation and increasing costs. EMTS (Associates) negotiated in good faith with the lenders and offered a debt-restructuring proposal. The lenders did not accept the EMTS proposal.

EMTS (Associates) have met repeatedly with Nigerian authorities, including the telecommunications regulator, NCC, and the Central Bank of Nigeria, to keep them informed of the seriousness of the situation and the need for a restructuring of EMTS debt to return the company to the path of insolvency. Etisalat Group was not affected. Rating agencies re-affirmed Etisalat Group High Credit ratings. The carrying value of EMTS shares in Etisalat Group books is nil.

One of the key reasons for ‘EMTS’ failure of the loan which was disbursed in part in USD is the worsening of Nigeria’s exchange rate position, floating of the currency following the devaluation of the Naira and the closing of the possibilities for converting US$ debt into Nigerian Naira debt by the monetary authorities.

Etisalat Group has taken a difficult decision to exit the Nigerian Market to protect the wider interests of the Group and those of its shareholders.”