Good news all around for the UAE teleco scene this week, as Du shares go up and Etisalat announces its $15 billion investment plans.
March 17, 2011 5:08 by Eva Fernandes
It has been literally months since we’ve seen Etisalat’s name in the local press without the words ‘Zain’, ‘bid’, or ‘stake’ following it – which as far as we are concerned is reason enough to warrant a story. Yes, Kipp’s as tired of the Etisalat-Zain saga as anyone else in the UAE business scene: we even used a Jacob from the Twilight saga analogy in a desperate bid to find a new angle on the issue. So Etisalat’s new decision to invest $15 billion (Dh55.09bn) in upgrading its telecommunications networks over the next five years is definitely worth an article.
The proposed sum is going to be used for investment in fibre-optic connections and 4G, or “long-term evolution” wireless networks (don’t get Kipp started on the name of this again). Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit Mohammed Omran, the chairman of Etisalat said “Etisalat alone, in the UAE and other operations, we expect to invest in the next coming five years up to $15bn to enhance our networks.” Though the proposed $15 billion is applicable to the 18 countries in which Etisalat operates, in the UAE the company has already invested Dh5 billion for a nationwide fibre-optic network and has apparently allocated an additional Dh5 billion.
Pretty big news, but before we get carried away with all the possibilities we’d have with super fast ‘long term evolution’ 4G at our disposal, we’re painfully reminded of the current limitations of our internet usage. Apart from the random site being blocked for ‘cultural reasons,’ internet telecommunication service Skype is still (technically) out of bounds. OK, well if you are able to download the program from out of the UAE you can use the service, but it isn’t rare for Kipp to find that the service is randomly ‘down’ from time to time. Or so slow that it may as well be blocked. It’s a continuous disappointment, particularly for all the expats.
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