New iPhones signal 5G user growth in UAE, says du CEO

Alvin Cabral/Dubai
Filed on December 9, 2020
Supplied photo

The pandemic and subsequent impacts that followed have emphasised that connectivity is an essential component of our society.

If there was one thing that this wild 2020 has taught us, it’s the fact that keeping in touch — no matter where we are or what the situation is — is a critical component of our daily endeavours and lives.

And being an industry leader, du has ensured that it was always there for all those depending on them through those tough times, by quickly innovating and adapting.

“The pandemic and subsequent impacts that followed have emphasised that connectivity is an essential component of our society. Although we already knew its importance and value, lockdown measures, movement restrictions and the strain these placed on communities and industries demonstrated that connectivity is key to social and economic continuity,” Fahad Al Hassawi, acting CEO of du, told Khaleej Times in an interview during Gitex Technology Week 2020.

“What also became even more apparent is the crucial role of telecommunications providers in their areas of operations. At du, we supported residents and the education, business, and healthcare sectors in every way possible in line with our corporate social responsibilities, ensuring the population had seamless access to the services they needed to remain connected in personal and professional life.”

Du, the Dubai-headquartered telecom giant from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), is one of the biggest participants at Gitex, demonstrating its next-generation services from 5G to consumer and enterprise solutions. Al Hassawi is keen to get the message across: Du will always be at the UAE’s service, and it will not relent on adapting and be the first to roll out the latest innovations.

What are the latest updates on du’s 5G services, particularly on how much of the UAE is covered and how soon will the country be fully covered?

Having begun our 5G preparations in 2016 and successfully launching commercially in May 2019, the transformation implications concerning the telecoms landscape are already apparent. The availability of handsets and the ecosystem is gradually improving, more new 5G handsets are launching, the current 5G network for high-speed mobile broadband is yielding positive results and low-latency and massive-machine-type communications will be available at some stage next year. We are targeting to have nationwide coverage in line with our 2023-24 timeframe. Nevertheless, we have already reached an excellent milestone of covering close to 80 per cent of the heavily-populated areas in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

How has customer feedback been regarding 5G?

We received positive feedback regarding the 5G experience. The feedback is driven by the better speeds and bandwidth when using the 5G devices. This is helping customers have better video quality when streaming, faster response times when using real-time applications and materially better download/upload wait times.

Does du have any study or survey that shows how much of users have shifted to 5G devices to avail of next-generation speeds?

As the number of available 5G devices are increasing and especially with the introduction of the 5G iPhone handsets range; we are expecting the number of 5G users to grow multiple-fold by end of the first quarter of 2021.

With the pandemic situation settling down, how do you see the future of mobility and demand of remote services?

Moving forward, the future of mobility will likely grow exponentially. From a business standpoint, mobility is a key driver of growth, stability, and security, and those that support and pursue mobility can gain invaluable competitive advantages. At du, our Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution provides customers with the tools they need achieve sustained mobility success because it effectively manages and secures mobile devices, applications and content. In terms of remote services, they will certainly play a significant role in the future. When we fully emerge from the ongoing difficulties, business communities will still demand these services due to the flexibility they provide, and we will almost certainly see a combination of remote and pre-pandemic ways of working across the business, education, and connectivity landscapes.

On the enterprise level, what roles can telcos play in order to ensure reliability and performance?

There are a host of roles telcos can play to ensure enterprises capitalise on reliability and performance.

Because of our resources, expertise, experience, and infrastructure, endless opportunities await for enterprises with our support in terms of increasing trust, building relationships, maintaining and elevating customer satisfaction and enhancing performance. There are many areas where these benefits can be realised, including EMM, cybersecurity, security monitoring and analytics, network security, secure Web hosting, broadband and much more.

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