During his keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Group and member of the GSMA Board, praised the UAE Government initiative to provide its citizens with world class Smart Government services.
The speech came at an important moment for the Etisalat Group, the leading telecoms operator in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, as they celebrated reaching 150 million subscribers. This milestone was achieved across 15 international markets.
Julfar presented the compelling growth journey of the company at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. This also marked the first keynote address to date by the Etisalat Group CEO at this prestigious global event.
In the quest to be the leading and most admired emerging markets telecom group, Julfar noted that achieving 150 million subscribers was a great milestone for Etisalat.
Drawing parallels between the fast-paced development of the UAE and Etisalat, Julfar said: “Today, Etisalat plays a key role in the Mobile Government strategy of the UAE and is on course to achieve 100 per cent Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) penetration - a world-first.”
“We were the first network in the Middle East to launch GSM, Internet services, 3-G and LTE,” said Julfar. “What is fascinating in this dynamic growth journey is the transformational role that mobile plays - to enrich people’s lives. At no time in human history has one technology revolutionized the way we do business, the way we are entertained, and ultimately, the way we live.”
Julfar said that the support of the UAE Government and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority helped drive the advancement of the country’s telecom sector. “We hope to replicate similar success across all our high growth international markets that we operate in, with the support of all stakeholders.”
Highlighting the growth achieved in Saudi Arabia, where Mobily, Etisalat’s operating brand, is the second largest operator in the Kingdom and has one of the world’s busiest data networks with 1.3 petabytes consumed daily, Julfar said the company is also actively participating in various Mobile for Development programmes in Africa.
Presenting an optimistic picture of the telecom industry globally, Julfar said the sector is entering a brand new era, but the most critical driver of growth will be “the ability of the telecom providers to adapt, change and innovate.”
Noting the way customers are migrating online services from computers to their smart phones, he added: “We see a new wave of connectivity, where Big Data meets Big Community and where the demand for products and services is outgrowing any other industry.”
Julfar said the future growth strategy of Etisalat is defined by its focus to ‘aspire forward,’ with the primary goal of providing customers not only “great efficiency but also greater customer experiences.”
Calling on the global players to work closely, Julfar said: “What we need now is for all stakeholders – regulators and partners – to work closer together, align their interests, and move this industry forward to a brighter future. This demands moving from a mindset of competitive value destruction to collaborative value addition.”