Mobile internet services urged for fast-growing sectors


Mobile internet services urged for fast-growing sectors

DUBAI - An international expert in mobile internet services is urging content providers in the UAE to launch online services more relevant to consumers and advertisers, such as the financial, transport, real-estate and luxury-brand sectors and social networking.

By (By Jose Franco)

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Published: Sat 30 Aug 2008, 11:24 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:05 PM

“Businesses attracting the wealthy segments of the population, in other words,” said Timo Ahomaki, the chief scientist and vice-president for product management at Airwide Solutions, a global provider of wireless internet infrastructure. The UAE has a 150-per cent mobile-phone market penetration, or 6.4 million cellular phones in use, Abdulla Hashim, the vice-president for marketing and enterprise solutions at the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), said in April.

Ahomaki said Airwide Solutions has entered into a global reseller agreement with the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, a UAE telecom operator known as du, and Nokia Siemens Networks.

Known for having helped launch the world’s first mobile banking and Wireless Application Protocol, or WAP service, he noted that the UAE’s current mobile advertising market is too small.

“Going forward, though, I see the luxury brands getting into mobile in the UAE probably sooner than in many other places due to the special circumstances in the area,” he stressed in an online interview.

Dubai alone had 100,000 millionaires as of June this year, said an earlier report quoting Sharad Nair, the managing director of Bank Sarasin-Alpen, a subsidiary of Zurich-based Bank Sarasin.

The number of millionaires in the UAE grew 15.4 per cent to 68,000 in 2006 from 59,000 the previous year, said last year’s annual World Health Report released by the global banking services provider Merrill Lynch and consulting firm Capgemini.

Ahomaki said that one of the key drivers of mobile internet is the availability of services that are “interesting and relevant” to a given environment, especially in areas where the wireless service has its own weight as a delivery channel alongside a fixed access.

“So, I suppose the content providers in the UAE should be looking at those usage patterns and seek to launch services to attract mobile-internet users,” he stressed. Worldwide payment transactions through mobile phones are expected to reach Dh132.24 billion ($36 billion) by 2011, Peter Farley, the managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at IDC, a global provider of IT market intelligence and advisory services, earlier said. The UAE and other Gulf Arab oil producers are flush with investable assets and purchasing power due to high oil export receipts. Saudi Arabia followed the UAE with its number of millionaires growing by 11.8 per cent to 89,600 in 2006.

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