Mar 17 2011

Etisalat to invest $15b in five years on network expansion

Thursday, Mar 17, 2011

Gulf News

Operator to roll out IPTV in few weeks

Abu Dhabi: Emirates Telecommunications Corporation , or etisalat , the UAE’s largest telecom operator, will invest $15 billion (Dh55.17 billion) in the enhancement and development of its network in the UAE and beyond over the next five years, its chairman said yesterday at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2011.

Etisalat has already invested Dh5 billion in fibre optics and it plans to invest an additional Dh5 billion, Mohammad Omran told the conference.

“I think fibre is the backbone for this new media, to connect the customer with the right speed,” Omran said. “That is why we have invested heavily in fibre, and we continue...not only in UAE, but also in Saudi Arabia and other markets as well.”

Etisalat also plans to roll out IPTV over the next few weeks, he said. “We want to be the first to adopt IPTV [Internet Protocol Television] on a large scale,” he said. “There will a lot of gaming, high definition and the like.

“LTE, or Long Term Evolution, which brings high speed broadband connectivity everywhere, is still at an early stage, but we have decided to be among the early adapters,” he said, adding that the UAE and Saudi Arabia are the first two countries where etisalat aims to provide the service.

LTE will give customers up to 150 megabytes per second. “We can see how cost is going down and speed is going up,” he said.

Omran said that as the media and the telecom industry continue to converge, there will be a lot of demand for mobile data.

“Four years ago in 2007 when we got a licence in Egypt there was basically very little mobile data. Today, etisalat has more than 30 terabyte per day in Egypt alone,” he said.

Etisalat currently has half the market share of data in Egypt, he added.

He said that the UAE is in a position to have the data centres within the UAE to connect not just the UAE, but around the world.

“We have all the capabilities and best connectivity and we have a lot of investment in infrastructure as a country and we have the ability to have the data centres in the UAE serving many parts of the world.”

By Samia Badih, Staff Reporter

© Gulf News 2011. All rights reserved.

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