UAE at the forefront of digital technology and connectivity
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Journalist, Gulf today
The strong results of the Etisalat group are the result of our sincere efforts to drive growth and generate efficiency gains despite unprecedented challenges in certain markets, through the flexibility and agility of our efficient business model to generate growth. and a robust performance, said Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO, Etisalat, in an email interview ahead of GITEX Global 2021, which opens today.
He said: “This was reflected positively in the financial results of the group with a market value of 58 billion dollars and revenues reaching 26.4 billion Dhs with an annual increase of 3.2% and a consolidated net profit after federal royalty amounting to Dhs 4.7 billion.
Dowidar said, “These results reflect our continued efforts to work in accordance with our strategic vision of ‘Driving the digital future to empower companies’ while remaining focused on our core business and exploring new growth opportunities by ensuring that we are well prepared for the future with our digital capabilities and solutions. On the operations front, despite the challenges faced by last year’s pandemic, our strong business continuity and crisis management plans have helped sustain growth and business across all operations.
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He added: “Many telecom companies have faced major challenges in global markets, but the UAE is at the forefront of digital technology and connectivity and has the highest fiber penetration in the world, allowing consumers and businesses to study and work remotely during this time. Despite these unique market conditions, Etisalat managed to grow positively through efficient management of our operating expenses not affecting the quality of services while the increase in revenues was slightly affected with investments focused on connection of all fiber homes and the launch of enriched offers for customers to upgrade their home and mobile plans at no additional cost to help them work and study from home. ”
Dowidar said, “We are confident that the Etisalat Group will maintain its leadership position in the telecommunications industry with an unwavering commitment to key strategic priorities to enable a future of digital innovation in all of our operations. At Etisalat, we are determined to continue the incredible transformation we have experienced in 2021 in our markets and believe that our main drivers of sustainable growth at Etisalat remain our international portfolio and our efforts in the digital space. Regarding the latter, there is great potential in the cloud, IoT and cybersecurity space, which will fuel future growth and rebalance telecom revenues while delivering returns to shareholders and creating added value for customers. . With people working and studying from home, there has been an exponential 40% increase in home internet use during the pandemic. “
Commenting on this year’s participation in GITEX GLOBAL, he explained: “Etisalat’s theme this year ‘Shaping the New Digital Age’ highlights how in the new digital economy we can leverage technology to be agile. in the face of disruption and creating new business models – post-COVID, goal-oriented, sustainable and inclusive. It’s about reinforcing the next era of digital technology where 5G communication, AI, IoT and machine learning are enabling a new way of life. GITEX gives us the opportunity every year to meet peers and technology leaders from around the world to share our experiences, giving us the opportunity to showcase the capabilities of telecommunications and technology to transform every industry in transportation, transportation, retail, health care, fashion education, automotive, utilities and entertainment.
Commenting on the overall performance of the company, he added: “The successes of the first half were not limited to financial performance, but also to the global achievements made in our infrastructures and networks. Etisalat’s network has been recognized as the fastest network in the world and the fastest fixed network in the GCC. These efforts had a huge impact on the overall performance of the country, which resulted in the UAE being ranked as the fastest country in the world in January-June 2021 for average mobile download speed. Fixed broadband index with the fastest average download speeds as shown on the Speedtest Global Index. He said: “This global recognition is the result of the tireless efforts of the UAE leaders over the past 50 years, and is a shining example of nation building with growth and development achieving success without end. It is also in line with the vision of the late Sheikh Zayed to lay the foundations on which future generations can build. With the support of the UAE’s wise leadership, our partners and regulatory authority Etisalat have achieved leadership with the launch of the 5G network and have successfully achieved Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) penetration rate. highest in the world for the third year in a row. ”
Commenting on the performance of the group’s global portfolio, Dowidar said: “The Etisalat group today operates in 16 markets in the Middle East, Asia and Africa in addition to the United Arab Emirates, the group also operates in Saudi Arabia. (Mobily), Pakistan (PTCL), Afghanistan (Etisalat Afghanistan), Egypt (Etisalat Misr) and Maroc (Maroc Telecom) with its operations in Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mali , Niger, Chad and Togo. Many of our markets performed strongly in the first half of the year, leading to a 7% year-over-year increase, bringing the total number of subscribers to 156 million. This was reflected positively on the company’s profits which amounted to Dh4.7 billion, an increase of 3.9% over the previous year. “
He said: “The Group is constantly investing to develop the capabilities required across its entire footprint in order to meet the ever-changing demands of different customer segments. To fuel growth both domestically and internationally, Etisalat will continue to develop unique skills, both organically and through selected mergers and acquisitions in priority areas. As part of this strategy, in 2020, Etisalat Digital, a dedicated business unit of the Group, finalized the acquisition of the activities of Help AG in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Help AG is one of the leading cybersecurity companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Commenting on the company’s goal for this year, he explained: “This year, Etisalat has remained focused on pursuing its vision of transitioning to a provider of comprehensive integrated ICT / digital solutions, securing its leadership position. of industry by working on our main objectives: reshaping the lives of consumers, accelerating the economic growth of companies and strengthening the competitiveness of the countries in which it operates. With changing market dynamics, the focus was on combining organic and inorganic growth opportunities to position Etisalat as the regional leader in Internet of Things (IoT), cloud, security, edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI). This has been achieved by capitalizing on opportunities such as megaprojects and smart city and Industry 4.0 projects in several verticals including healthcare, education, logistics, and oil and gas (O&G). We have also focused on taking all necessary measures to protect our employees and provide the latest solutions to our customers. ”
He added, “Etisalat’s 5G network will amplify the use of these futuristic services, target new opportunities and implement 5G use cases across industries. Our teams are constantly working on opportunities to deploy services based on emerging technologies such as IoT, cloud, big data, AI, robotics, autonomy, AR / VR, thus becoming a trusted partner supporting transformation in a digitally disrupted and fully connected world. Expo 2020 is a prime example of Etisalat’s solutions aimed at enhancing the digital visitor experience with technologies such as AR / VR. Services hosted on private and public clouds are one of the key priorities to provide redundant, fast and available connectivity between Expo 2020, its site offices, partners, public and corporate services.
Our IoT platform has connected over a million SIM cards to renowned entities such as Emirates Transport and Xtramix for fleet solutions and the Home Office for Hassantuk smart fire alarm solution, which have had a considerable impact on saving lives and improving the state of the country’s security. “
Regarding Etisalat’s sustainability initiatives and goals, he explained: “We believe in the positive impact that technology can bring and we strive to adopt technologies that ensure long-term benefits for people. our environment and climate. Sustainability remains at the heart of our strategy and operations aligned with the UAE Vision 2021 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. ”