KHALEEJ TIMES, Tuesday, Apr 17, 2018 | Shaaban 1, 1439
How UAE telecom players are seizing opportunities
Telecommunications in the UAE has become an ever-evolving industry characterised
by opportunities arising from new challenges in our increasingly digitalised
world. The industry is constantly being disrupted, giving players ample
opportunity to demonstrate their agility by quickly adapting their business
models to this reality while effectively leveraging their assets. In fact,
challenging the status quo has opened new avenues for operators to monetise
services, streamline operations and make the necessary investments in creating a
sustainable strategy for the future.
Cybersecurity is one of the most glaring challenges faced by operators today as
it poses some of the greatest threats to ICT industry players. As such, the
ideal strategy for overcoming challenges and maximising opportunities is heavily
contingent on effective cybersecurity measures which protect individual
First and foremost, it is vital for telcos to have the right tools to protect
their network, the integrity and privacy of their customers' data, and the
security of their transactions. They must also offer cybersecurity solutions for
customers as part of their ICT services - especially those offered to enterprise
customers - helping them to achieve more secure and efficient business practices
whether they are startups, large businesses or government entities.
Beyond cybersecurity, to achieve sustainability in the ICT industry - and
particularly in the UAE, where the government aims to be at the forefront of
digital transformation - the development of advanced technologies like 5G and
IoT is crucial.
Use cases must be defined, business models must be adapted and next generation
technologies must be implemented through tangible, actionable plans. They must
seek to transform the way companies work and the way people live, with
sustainability built on long-term partnerships and collaboration built on the
common goal to achieve what's best for our country and our people.
Equally important as external factors like these are internal factors, like
corporate culture and workforce competence, in achieving and maintaining
business sustainability. Maintaining a strong culture in the workplace hinges on
the ability of all employees to embrace the constant change that besets the ICT
New concepts are sprouting every day, as the likes of artificial intelligence
and robotics are now well-established, with high potential to impact our
businesses. Therefore, it is imperative to promote a culture of change, and
create an atmosphere that nurtures cross-discipline dialogues.
ICT is becoming more and more complex and by asking the right questions, we can
seek the right answers. Since we are moving from unshared certainties to shared
uncertainties, the recipe for embracing the culture of change is openness,
transparency and collaboration. As part of an innovative industry that will
inevitably play a large role in global progress today and in the future, it is
critical to embrace change and seek out ways to ensure its success.
In the UAE, as I see it - telecoms companies will operate at 3 different levels
over time. The first one will be an increasingly software-based infrastructure
provider. This is part of the larger ensemble where the government will assume a
more dominant role. The second one will be a consumer-focused digital
entertainment and lifestyle services business providing music, video and digital
services. The third one will be an enterprise solutions business serving B2B
However, it's not enough to have a vision and ambition to achieve it. ICT
players need to start building the right competencies, talent, leadership skills
and processes beginning today. They need to have an action plan to turn their
ambition into reality.