In another UAE first, du joins hands with the 5-star UAE airline, Etihad Airways, to offer its premium customers unmatched benefits including data and Etihad Guest Miles with the all new Smart Plan Platinum. For the first time in the market, du is also introducing 5GB roaming data to its postpaid plan to ensure that customers have seamless, cross-border connectivity. This tie-up gives consumers an opportunity to immediately attain Etihad Guest Gold tier status, for a premium travel experience with the premium airline.  Gold tier benefits include lounge access, priority check-in and boarding, 50 percent additional bonus miles when flying and an excess baggage allowance.

du customers who opt for the Smart Plan Platinum will receive an unparalleled 500GB national data, in addition to the roaming data, 5,000 flexi minutes, a mobile device worth AED 5,000 and an exclusive du mobile number. With 500GB data, Smart Plan Platinum customers can use their phone however they want without worrying about connecting to WiFi to minimize data usage; customers can stream as much video content as they wish on any given month, and still have plenty of national data to use to stay connected with friends and loved ones.

"Partnering with the UAE national airline, Etihad Airways, and its award winning loyalty program Etihad Guest, enables us to further diversify our premium offering and enable our customers to reap further benefits that enhance their lives in multiple ways here and abroad," said Fahad Al Hassawi, chief commercial officer, du. "This exciting new plan opens up a world of opportunity for our customers who can remain connected and entertained with 500GB national data each month. In addition, they will enjoy 5GB roaming data as part of their monthly bundle while traveling abroad."

Additionally, customers will benefit from an immediate upgrade to Etihad Guest Gold Tier with a joining bonus of 35,000 miles, as well as earning 1 Etihad Guest mile per dirham during the period of their contract when they opt for the Smart Plan Platinum.

"We are pleased to be working with du to offer their premium customers a first-class experience. The Etihad Guest Miles they can receive as part of the post-paid plan throughout the year are equivalent to three business class upgrades to London. Etihad has reimagined flying, and now we are working with our partners to further enhance travel for our customers," said Yasser Al Yousuf, managing director, Etihad Guest.

The Smart Platinum Plan is available on a 12-month contract for a monthly recurring charge of AED 5,000.

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, the parent of the brand du which was launched ten years ago, announced the launch of Virgin Mobile in the UAE on January 31 in Dubai. EITC chief executive Osman Sultan stressed the fact that Virgin Mobile is not being launched as a new telecom operator in the UAE, but a new brand under EITC, aiming to cater to digital natives who live on their mobile phones. More details of the services that Virgin Mobile will offer in the UAE will come soon.

"It gives me great pleasure and great happiness to launch another brand by EITC, and that brand is Virgin Mobile," said Mr. Sultan at the press conference. "A new baby is born for EITC and we are privileged that we have the use of this brand. I think that everybody knows the Virgin Mobile brand and everybody knows we thrive for being customer-centric. We believe this makes perfect sense and it's a perfect match."

During the announcement, Mr. Sultan introduced Karim Benkirane, Managing Director of Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa, who previously held the CEO position at Virgin Mobile KSA. Karim will be the "Managing Director of Virgin Mobile UAE in charge of operations working within EITC and reporting to me," said Mr. Sultan. He said in a few weeks more details about what services the Virgin Mobile brand will offer in the UAE will be released.

"I'm really proud to be part of EITC," said Mr. Benkirane. "I'm really proud to be part of this historic moment in this country. Virgin Mobile is a global brand and it's a consumer mobile brand. We have great experience in so many countries and we are trying to bring this experience and our expertise to the UAE market. We want to bring a differentiated experience, one that truly embraces digitalization."

"Digital transformation is our main focus and we believe that the digital revolution has changed completely our needs, so there is a niche market of people who live their lives on mobile, and Virgin would like to make their lives much easier and also make sure that we can make mobile better," Mr. Benkirane added.

EITC has full ownership, management, and operation of Virgin Mobile in the UAE, said Mr. Sultan. "Let me be very clear: This is not a third operator," he explained. "This is not a new license. This is not an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). EITC is introducing another brand - Virgin Mobile - after having acquired the rights to use the Virgin brand in the United Arab Emirates."

Sultan stressed the importance of understanding that the new brand doesn't represent a new telecom operator. No entity other than ETIC has any stake in the operations of the new brand. Just like du, Virgin Mobile will use the network and other infrastructure of EITC. It has the right to use the brand in the UAE.

All customer contracts, like du customers, will be in the name of EITC, the license operator, which eleven years ago, signed a contract with the TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority). EITC became a telecom operator in the UAE before the du brand existed. All regulatory obligations within the framework will be under the responsibility of EITC.

"Within EITC, we created a separate business unit," said Sultan, explaining the origins of Virgin Mobile as part of EITC. "This unit will do all of the marketing and interfacing, sales, customer care, product development, looking at customer experience, etc."

"In 2017, we are now in a world that is fast-changing, and I don't think I need a lot of words to convince you that this change is really radical," said Mr. Sultan, discussing the varying needs of digital natives today. "There is nothing that we do in our daily lives that is not being transformed by this digital universe," he said, adding that there is a need for customers to have services converged more smoothly - interconnected and converged services. Therefore, Virgin Mobile could be the answer for this.

Sultan said he has been observing the world we live in today, which ultimately led him to launch a new brand in the UAE similar to how EITC- a licensed operator - launched du ten years ago. "Launching another brand alongside du will cater to the needs of a segment and will be appealing to a large segment of the market and will fit totally with the DNA of EITC," he said.

"Almost ten years ago, EITC launched telecom services through the du brand," said Sultan, reflecting on the success of du. "It is true that we were not the first in this country or this region as a telco. But we have a solid history of firsts, certainly in this region and probably at a global level."

EITC was one of the first operators to offer Full Triple Play, and was one of the first operators globally to have used a full optical fiber network to go to homes or to businesses. Using fiber was a bet, but it was the right bet, said Sultan.

EITC was also the first operator in the region to offer Pay by the Second, and was the first to launch a multiple benefit recharge card. "Because we are dedicated to the UAE market, as a telecom operator, we were also the first to launch an Emirati plan dedicated to the specific needs of Emiratis," said Sultan.

"We look at our customers and we are driven by their needs, by what they like, what they want," he said. "We were the first to start payment on mobile, which indicated the way we were seeing how these instruments we carry will become transformative in our lives, and that you can do much more than just receive calls or send messages. We are an integral part of the social and economic fabric of the country."

"We were one of the first in the world to roll our Fiber to the Home (FTTH) - this is now mainstream for all telcos," Mr. Sultan continued. "On the other side of the spectrum, we were the first to deploy smart street lights in Dubai Silicon Oasis recently. Also, we are very proud to be the partner of the Dubai Smart Office, and proud that we launched WiFi UAE all across the nation. We are proud to be an enabler of this journey."

For more information on EITC's new brand 'Virgin Mobile', visit: www.virginmobile.ae

du was honored and excited to accept the awards for Best Smart City Initiative and Best Cloud Provider at this year’s Telecom Review Summit. du was chosen by an independent panel of 15 experience industry veterans to receive the Best Smart City Initiative Award at the Telecom Review Excellence Awards ceremony. Osman Sultan, du’s chief executive officer accepted the awards in front of his executive management team and other ICT luminaries in attendance. 

The summit, now in its fourth year, brought together the best telecom and ICT industry leaders in the region at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dubai Festival City.

Commenting on the Awards ceremony, Osman Sultan, chief executive officer at du said : "Proceeding from our deep belief that telecom companies play a major role in the future development of our nation and propagating the UAE knowledge economy, we endeavor to offer innovative ICT services and leading digital infrastructure solutions that will lay a solid foundation for the smart city. We are pleased to be recognised with the Smart City Initiative award – a testament to our efforts during 2016 to make Dubai the smartest city in the world. du is keen to continue in our cooperation with our strategic partners to develop a full range of smart services and cloud solutions, which will contribute significantly in spreading smart city services throughout the region. At du, we are proud of our progress thus far; it has inspired us to continue harnessing future potential until our goal of living in a society completely connected by smart applications and the Internet of Things."

From infrastructure to next generation services, du is leveraging flexible Cloud models and making innovative solutions available to SMEs, enterprises, government institutions and global service providers. In terms of its prowess in the cloud, du’s Cloud Infrastructure as a Service is transforming the ICT landscape, while securing the government web presence and delivering cross-platform content.

du plays a pivotal role in Dubai’s evolution into a Smart City. Beyond its strategic partnership with the Government’s Smart Dubai Office, du continues to invest in city-wide initiatives to transform Dubai into the Smartest City in the World, driving unparalleled quality of life for its residents and visitors using Smart Technology. Some of these include enhancing dynamic connectivity through solutions that include fleet management, which use Machine to Machine technology, as well as the ongoing roll out of WiFi UAE.

du is driven by innovation and finding technologies that bring only the biggest benefits for the people, businesses and government of the UAE.

The SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium recently announced the completion of the 20,000-kilometer subsea cable infrastructure developed by a 16-nation consortium on schedule. UAE telecom provider, du, is a stakeholder in the project which is in-line with the UAE National Vision 2021 and the National Agenda of sustainable environment and infrastructure. The UAE is an emerging business hub in the region and investments from du were instrumental in bringing SEA-ME-WE 5 to the UAE.

This submarine cable system won the Project of the Year – Subsea award at the Global Carrier Awards in Paris in November 2016 for its technological and managerial excellence.

"As a leading smart city enabler, du takes into serious consideration any opportunity to improve the ICT infrastructure in the UAE, not only to benefit its intrinsic business requirements, but also to benefit the UAE as a whole. Our investment in the SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium is a reflection of our commitment to maintain and strengthen our position as a trusted partner for our customers who demand the highest quality solutions when it comes to their ICT needs," said Farid Faraidooni, Chief Operations Officer.

The growth of mobile data and internet usage in the UAE is driving the demand for higher-capacity infrastructure. du chose to be a stakeholder in the project to help support its capacity demand in the domestic and regional markets. This is a consortium of some of the largest telecom operators in the world, allowing UAE enterprise customers access into those markets. du's investment in SEA-ME-WE 5 will enhance the resilience of its network and ultimately support both customer and community satisfaction.

The SME-ME-WE 5 subsea cable system, spanning 16 countries from Southeast Asia through the Middle East to Western Europe, is a technological breakthrough which marks a global communications milestone. It is designed with a capacity of 24 Terabits per second on 3-fiber pairs, fully capable of accommodating the future demand of data from other bandwidth-intensive applications such as enterprise data exchange, internet TV and online gaming.

The SEA-ME-WE 5 submarine cable's advanced 100Gbps technology is expected to meet the quadrupling of bandwidth demand between Europe and Asia. In contrast with other submarine cable systems, the SEA- ME-WE 5's main endpoints are carrier-neutral/open Points-of-Presence (PoPs) and not just Cable Landing Stations (CLS).

The subsea cable system, which was implemented with over $500 million from consortium members, was designed to enable the latest upgradable 100Gbps technology, further enhancing the diversity and resilience of the heavily-utilized route between Asia and Europe.

Members of the SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium:
Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), China Mobile International (CMI), China Telecom Global (CTG), China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (CU), Djibouti Telecom (DT), Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du), Myanmar Post and Telecom (MPT), Ooredoo, Orange, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (Singtel), Sparkle, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT), Telecom Egypt (TE), Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), TeleYemen, Turk Telekom International (TTI) and Trans World Associates (Pvt) Limited Pakistan (TWA).

 

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Telecom Review Summit 2016

Digital Magazine

Feb 2017

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