Calling new numbers
Mobile operator du has entered into an agreement with global operator Vodafone to share technologies and develop products.
October 29, 2009 10:50 by Aarti Nagraj
UAE-based telecom operator du has entered into a non-equity strategic agreement with global operator Vodafone, the two companies announced in a joint press conference on Wednesday. The commercial agreement, will look at improving roaming facilities for customers of both the networks, and work towards jointly developing products for multinational companies. They did not disclose the value of the agreement.
“The partnership will also probably lead to better deals for customers,” Osman Sultan, du’s CEO said.
Although the company is not immediately planning to follow rival Etisalat’s route and launch its own mobile handset, Vodafone may provide du exclusive access to new models of handsets as part of the deal, he said.
“The Partner Market Agreement with du has already increased Vodafone’s brand recognition and improved our ability to service customers roaming in the UAE; we are delighted with progress to date,” Richard Daly, CEO, Vodafone Partner Markets said in a statement.
Daly insisted Vodafone is not planning an equity deal with du, and said that they would keep the deal flexible. He also said that the two operators would have joint branding only for products they collaborate on.
The deal is Vodafone’s 42nd Partner Market Agreement, and its du’s first international collaboration.
Du, which launched in the UAE in 2007, has been accused of having network problems. Although Sultan says that the company has invested AED2.5 billion on its infrastructure in 2009 thus far, and that du’s network is “much better now,” problems still exist.
Du is also rapidly expanding; although Sultan says that it has no plans to operate outside the UAE anytime soon, the local numbers are growing. In the second quarter of the year, du saw revenues of AED1.3 billion, up 12 percent from the previous quarter and up 44 percent from the same period in 2008. Its net profit for the quarter reached AED115 million, up from AED47 million in the first quarter of 2009.
The operator also recently beat Etisalat to bring the latest version of the iPhone to the country first.
But for the operator to successfully move forward, it will have to improve its facilities. And now that it will have access to Vodafone’s technology, du should use the expertise to improve and expand its network.