Monday, May 25, 2009

Middle East: As mobile telephony saturates, operators need to develop multimedia, mobile commerce and advertising revenue

[zawya] Mohammed Al Ghanim, Director General of the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), outlined the development strategies that regional operators will need to embrace if additional revenue streams are to be opened up as mobile phone penetration approaches saturation levels.

Al Ghanim was addressing delegates on the sidelines of the Middle East Communications Exhibition and Conference (MECOM 2009) which he officially opened today (Monday 25 May) at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

"Regional operators should further develop multimedia, mobile commerce and capitalise on advertising revenue." TV broadcasts to mobile handsets and fixed line services such as video on demand were highlighted as potential development areas. But Al Ghanim added that "Fixed and mobile voice and data services maybe our bread and butter, but the key to the future is the next generation of broadband as well as integrating the parallel stream of wire-line and wireless technologies."

This will be a change in direction for some of the region's largest operators, who have in the recent past focused more on overseas acquisitions than developing home-grown demand for internet services. Due to the economic downturn, credit has become less available and more costly to obtain. Therefore more regional operators are now turning their attention to developing their broadband service offering in their established markets.

"To underscore their commitment to the UAE market, Etisalat is installing fibre optic cables in Abu Dhabi, making it the first city worldwide to attain complete fibre optic coverage. It also hopes to connect at least 90% of households throughout the UAE by 2011," said Ed Malkoun, Group Exhibition Director, MECOM 2009.

MECOM 2009, which continues until Wednesday 28 May 2009, is the region's only dedicated communications for enterprise trade show, featuring the best in hardware, software and services.

Apart from local, regional and international exhibitors MECOM 2009 is also hosting three separate forums; Leaders in Telecoms, Connect Strategic Telecoms Summit and a series of 7 individual one-day enterprise seminars, which brings together operators, service providers and vendors and their enterprise customers. To provide a dedicated platform, each seminar is dedicated to a specific area of industry such as healthcare, hospitality, banking and finance.

The one-day Leaders event as the name suggests attracted many of the region's industry leaders and telecoms experts. Delivering the keynote at the Telecoms Leaders summit was Abdulaziz Fakhroo, Chairman of GSM Association Arab World who spoke about the ambitions for the region and beyond. Osman Sultan, CEO of Du, Grahame Mather, Vodafone Qatar and Ross Cormack, CEO, Nawras in Oman who chaired a panel discussion on the next generation of revenue producing strategies and Khalid Al-Kaf, CEO of Saudi-based Mobily who shared his own experiences in developing broadband.

Regional telecom operators need to develop mobile & fixed internet services as mobile phone market nears saturation says Al Ghanim at MECOM 2009
see also MECOM 2008

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