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Evolving Etisalat

Evolving Etisalat

More telco funs and games. This time: some potential good news on the UAE horizon, and for Qatar some confirmed good news much closer.

February 16, 2011 1:18 by

Yesterday Kipp wrote about how baffled we were with the arrangement of the new royalty fees Du will soon have to shell out, to the very government that pretty much owns 80 percent of it, so you are probably wondering why you are seeing a picture of Etisalat on the site today. Well, if you know Kipp, then you’d know we are not above pondering the awfully confusing and sometimes simply awful scene that is the UAE teleco market two days in a row. So, here we go.

In the latest news, Etisalat has signed an agreement with Alcatel-Lucent for the first ever commercial LTE network in the Middle East within the first quarter of 2011. Exciting stuff, no? Ha ha just kidding, we know you want to know what LTE is. It’s Long Term Evolution. Sounds promising, but this is Etisalat we are talking about so let’s see a few more details. Long Term Evolution (we could just use the abbreviation, but with a name like that we are going to throw it around as often as we can) ‘provides more from social networks.’ Apparently, Long Term Evolution will allow for ‘video conferencing, high definition content transmission and high speed video downloads. Sounds a bit ambitious in a country still failing to embrace VOIP, so if we’re honest we won’t hold our breaths too long for this one to change our lives.

In other Etisalat-related news, in a bid to up the competition with their not-so-competitive competitor, Etisalat will soon start charging mobile phone subscriptions by the second, instead of minute. “This is to ensure healthy competition in UAE telecommunications market” Emirates 24|7 reassures us. The TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority ) has already given Etisalat the go-ahead to charge per second, so all that remains is for the company to implement it. As before, Kipp will not be betting (if we were allowed to bet, we mean) on a suddenly vibrant mobile market, but we guess it wouldn’t hurt.

OK, so all Kipp reported on there is little more than drawing board stuff. But then again, this is the UAE telco scene we’re talking about here, so every grand move a company makes will be surrounded by speculation and miles of red tape. Not stuff compelling stories are made of, but we can try and turn this all around by telling you about the much more impressive and positive steps Etisalat’s Qatari equivalent, Qtel, has recently taken. Apparently Qtel has partnered with Skype to provide access to their wireless broadband unit. The agreement will allow mobile broadband users of Qtel (who also operate in Jordan and the Philippines) to have access to Skype.

Pretty cool stuff; here’s hoping something like this is on the cards for Etisalat – now that’s the sort of long term evolution worth waiting for.

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