Cloud adoption is accelerating worldwide: Forbes calculated the compound growth rate of cloud computing at a staggering 19 percent, meaning that its market value will rise from USD 67 billion in 2015 to USD 167 billion in 2020. The Middle East is at the forefront of this trend. Experts forecast that by 2020, there will be a 440 percent increase in datacenter traffic in the region. It is only a matter of time before the cloud supports the whole world.

Read more: Huawei: The intelligent cloud for digitalization of the Middle East

Nokia says that 5G will be a key-enabler for what it is labeled as the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' and that the next-generation technology has the power to completely transform societal norms in sectors such as manufacturing, transportation, energy and healthcare. Telecom Review managed to secure an exclusive interview with Head of Customer Marketing and Communications, MEA at Nokia, Joachim Wuilmet during GITEX Technology Week.

Read more: Nokia emphasizes 5G is now primarily the technology for industry and Internet of Things

BridgeWave Communications, a market leader in the development and deployment of high capacity microwave and millimeter wave backhaul and front-haul solutions, is set to accelerate its growth and footprint in the Middle East following the regional launch of its NAVIGATOR DT systems at GITEX Technology Week.

Read more: BridgeWave set to accelerate growth in the Middle East with introduction of new products at GITEX

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.”