Etisalat by e& is an Emirati-based multinational telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 16 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It is the 18th largest mobile network operator in the world by number of subscribers. The Integrator had an opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Khalid Murshed, Chief Technology & Information Officer, etisalat by e&
Q1: What is the strategy of etisalat by e& to drive growth in its transformation from a telco to a techco?
With the successful launch of the new brand identity of Etisalat Group to e&, the overall strategy is now anchored towards driving business growth through the creation of distinct business verticals. This was accompanied with the strength of etisalat by e&’s advanced and one of the world’s fastest mobile and fixed networks, best of class products and services, well-established digital channels, and our top commitment to provide the highest customer experience.
To thrive and sustain leadership as a service provider, the focus to transform from a telco to a techo was a critical imperative. While shifting towards a digital services provider, etisalat by e& remained committed to lead the telecom network evolution through rolling out advanced bundled network capabilities, addressing our various customer segments and their requirements with the continuous evolution of the network. This included 5G High Speed Services, 5G Private Networks, Multi-Cloud connectivity, security Services, SD-WAN, Fixed Services, and others. etisalat by e& is also investing and attracting new talents, leading the development of advanced technologies and new capabilities in the areas such as: Artificial Intelligence, cloud, cybersecurity, Robotics, Metaverse, 5G, IoT, OTT and others. This will help establish and fulfil unique and effective E2E digital services across various business verticals Fintech, Health, Government, Education, and among others. Our continuous efforts and technology investments have helped retain leadership and maintain the highest speeds in our network including the rollout of 5G Standalone and the enablement of various 5G uses cases for both business and consumers. In fixed network infrastructure, the digital business product portfolio has expanded to include new features and capabilities across IoT and M2M products, SD-WAN, cyber security, business vertical solutions and end-to-end managed service. The consumer products were enhanced with the adoption of OTT services, integration on the retail front with Al Grocer, payment channels, and the loyalty point system.
Q2. What has been the impact of 5G on etisalat by e& services?
Since 2018 etisalat by e& was among the first operators to invest in wide 5G rollouts and adoption to establish the foundation for the network of tomorrow. Today due to these efforts and investments, 5G is now widely available in UAE, enabling our consumers to experience our mobile services on one of the fastest networks in the world.
etisalat by e& has been working closely with businesses to enable 5G capabilities to address various use cases, such as in the area of 5G private networks enabling organizations to build secure, high speed and fully managed private 5G networks, connecting their different entities, systems, equipment to their critical business applications. New features and use cases will enable network slicing, latency sensitive M2M (machine to machine) IoT (Internet of Things) through active developments and partnerships to ensure readiness and effective tangible benefits to UAE businesses.
Q3: Tell us about the focus of etisalat by e& on AR or VR (Metaverse) and future technologies?
Although the Metaverse technology is still at its early stages, we see a significant opportunity in the technology that will totally transform the user experience, how people and businesses can connect, communicate, and interact and improving the overall quality of life.
The infrastructure foundation is built to support future technologies like Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) that require low latency, leveraging on our high-speed 5G and fixed network, comprehensive coverage, and multi-cloud infrastructure, including MEC.
We also work closely with Metaverse partners and technology providers to enable various use cases, such as digital twin for visualizing and visualizing a company’s infrastructure and physical presence. For example, providing customers with virtual live visualisations of their physical locations to enable effective new floor plan designs, changes, and problem solving without having to conduct costly visits and actual reworks. We have also implemented several use cases in the consumer and entertainment sectors which were launched and showcased at GITEX, the global technology exhibition held in Dubai this year.
Q4: What is your Cloud Strategy?
Cloud is at the heart of etisalat by e&’s strategy through our extensive hybrid cloud adoption and by partnering with public hyperscalers, building, and evolving our private and edge clouds at the same time establishing a robust secured multi-could connectivity.
etisalat by e& is continuously fostering new innovative cloud capabilities, investing in developing and adopting cloud native platforms and applications, enabling higher efficiency and faster time to market of new enhanced services targeted to enhance the overall customer’s experience. By partnering with public cloud providers and technology partners etisalat by e& is leveraging on the offerings and innovation capabilities to benefit our business customers and enable their business growth.