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Thursday, 2.12.2021
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Etisalat Group’s strong results are an outcome of our sincere efforts to drive growth and generate efficiencies despite unprecedented challenges in certain markets, thanks to the flexibility and agility in our efficient business model to deliver growth and a robust performance, said Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO, Etisalat, in an email interview ahead of the GITEX Global 2021, which will open Today.

He said, “This was positively reflected in the financial results of the group with a market value of $58 billion and revenues touching Dhs26.4 billion with a Year on Year (YoY) increase of 3.2 per cent and consolidated net profit after federal royalty amounting to Dhs4.7 billion.”

Dowidar said, “These results are a reflection of our continuous endeavor to work in line with our strategic vision to ‘Drive the digital future to empower societies’ while remaining focused on our core business and exploring new growth opportunities ensuring that we are well geared for the future with our digital capabilities and solutions.On the operations front, despite the challenges faced from the pandemic last year our robust plans on business continuity and crisis management helped in maintaining growth and business across operations.”

He added, “Many telcos faced major challenges from global markets but UAE is at the forefront of digital technology and connectivity and has the highest fibre penetration globally enabling consumers and businesses to study and work remotely during this period. Despite these unique market conditions, Etisalat managed to grow positively due to the efficient management of our operational expenses not affecting the quality of services while the increase in revenues was slightly affected with investments focused on connecting all homes with fiber and launching enhanced offers for customers to upgrade their home and mobile plans at no extra charge to support them to work and study from home.“

Dowidar said, “We are confident that Etisalat Group will maintain its leadership position in the telecom industry with an unwavering commitment to key strategic priorities to enable a future driven by digital innovation across our operations. At Etisalat, we are determined to continue the incredible transformation we have been experiencing in 2021 across our markets and believe that our major sustainable drivers of growth at Etisalat remain to be our international portfolio and efforts in the digital space. With regard to the latter, there is strong potential in the cloud, IoT and cyber security space, which will fuel future growth and rebalance telecom revenues and at the same time provide returns to shareholders and create added value for customers. With people working and studying from home, there was an exponential increase of 40 percent in the use of home internet during the pandemic. “

About this year participation in GITEX GLOBAL, he explained, “Etisalat’s theme this year ‘Shaping the new Digital Era’ highlights how in the new digital economy we can leverage technology to be agile in the face of disruption and create new business models– post-COVID, purpose driven, sustainable and inclusive. It is about empowering the next era of digital technology where 5G communication, AI, IoT and machine learning enable a new way of living. GITEX gives us an opportunity every year to meet with peers and technology leaders from across the world to share our experiences giving us an opportunity to showcase capabilities of telecom and technology to transform every industry from transport, retail, healthcare, education to fashion, automotive, utilities and entertainment.”

About the company’s overall performance, he added, “The successes during the first half of the year was not limited to financial performance but also to the global achievements made in our infrastructure and networks. Etisalat’s network was recognised the world’s fastest network and fastest fixed network in the GCC. These efforts have greatly impacted the country’s overall performance resulting to the UAE being ranked the fastest country in the world in January-June 2021 for average mobile download speed and was the only country from the MEA region to be ranked in the top 20 countries globally in fixed broadband index with the fastest average download speeds, as reported on the Speedtest Global Index. “ He said, “This global recognition is a result of the relentless efforts of UAE leadership for the past 50 years, and is a shining example of nation building with the growth and development achieving endless success. This is also in line with the late Sheikh Zayed’s vision to lay the foundation for future generations to build on. Thanks to the support of the UAE’s wise leadership, our partners, and the regulatory authority Etisalat achieved leadership with the launch of the 5G network and succeeded in achieving the highest penetration rate in Fiber to the Home (FTTH) globally for a third consecutive year.”

About the group global portfolio performance, Dowidar said, “Etisalat Group today operates across 16 markets in Middle East, Asia and Africa in addition to the UAE, the group also operates in Saudi Arabia (Mobily), Pakistan (PTCL), Afghanistan (Etisalat Afghanistan), Egypt (Etisalat Misr) and Morocco (Maroc Telecom) with its operations in Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Togo. Many of our markets witnessed strong performance during the first half of the year resulting in a YoY increase of 7 percent bringing the aggregate subscriber base to 156 million. This reflected positively on the profits of the company that amounted to Dhs4.7 billion representing an increase of 3.9 percent over the previous year.“

He said, “The Group is continuously investing to develop the required capabilities across its footprint to address the evolving requirements of the various customer segments. To fuel growth both in the home market and internationally, Etisalat will continue to develop unique competencies, both organically as well as through selected mergers and acquisitions in priority areas. As part of this strategy, in 2020, Etisalat Digital, a dedicated business unit of the Group, completed the acquisition of Help AG’s businesses in the UAE and KSA. Help AG is one of the leading cyber-security companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.”

About the the company goal for this year, he explained, “This year Etisalat has remained focused on pursuing its vision of transitioning to a complete integrated ICT/digital solution provider securing its position as an industry leader by working on our main goals: reshaping the lives of consumers, accelerating the economic growth of businesses and enhancing the competitiveness of the countries in which it operates. With changing market dynamics, the focus was combining organic and inorganic growth opportunities to position Etisalat as the regional leader in Internet of things (IoT), cloud, security, edge computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). This was achieved by capitalising on opportunities such as megaprojects and smart city and Industry 4.0 projects across multiple verticals, including health, education, logistics and oil and gas (O&G). We also focused on taking all necessary measurements to protect our employees and provide the latest solutions to our customers.”

He added, “Etisalat’s 5G network will amplify the use of these futuristic services, target new opportunities, and implement 5G use cases across verticals. Our teams are constantly working on opportunities to deploy services based on emerging technologies such as IoT, cloud, big data, AI, robotics, autonomous, AR/VR, becoming a trusted partner that supports transformation in a digitally disrupted and fully connected world. Expo 2020 is a prime example of Etisalat’s solutions aimed at enhancing the digital experience for visitors with technologies such as AR/VR. Services being hosted on the private and public clouds are one of the key priorities to provide redundant, fast and available connectivity between Expo 2020, its site offices, partners, public and enterprise services.

Our IoT platform connected over 1 million SIMs with renowned entities such as Emirates Transport and Xtramix for fleet solutions and Ministry of Interior for Hassantuk Smart Fire Alarm solution, which have had a massive impact on saving lives and enhancing the state of security for the country.”

About Etisalat’s sustainability initiatives and objectives, he explained,” We believe in the positive impact that technology can bring and strive to adopt technologies that ensure long-term benefits to our environment and the climate. Sustainability remains at the core of our strategy and operations aligned with the UAE Vision 2021 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

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Quelle/Source: Gulf Today, 16.11.2021

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