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Etisalat signs key deals at Mobile World Congress
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ABU DHABI: An award for innovation and several key partnerships formed at a major gathering of the telecommunications industry in Spain will boost Etisalat Group’s operations, building on the organisation’s vision to become one of the most admirable telecommunication companies in the world.

Delegates representing Etisalat’s operations in 15 countries – where it has over 139 million customers –took part in the Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, Spain, from February 25 to 28.

“Throughout the week, we announced key partnerships that will carry our international operations forward with more momentum than ever,” said Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, the Chief Executive officer of the UAE-based operator.

One deal that received international attention was the renewal of a four-year partnership with FC Barcelona that makes Etisalat the footballing giant’s official partner in nine countries throughout the Middle East and Africa. Etisalat hosted over 300 sportsmen and telecoms industry leaders at a show in the team’s stadium, Camp Nou, to celebrate the new deal.

Mr Julfar said of the partnership: “As a global telecommunications operator, it makes sense for us to partner with a world-class football club interested in expanding its international fan base.”

Etisalat Group also signed a partnership with Mahindra Comviva, a leading provider of mobile financial solutions. The alliance will give millions of customers with basic mobile phones in Africa in Asia access to online services such as emailing, instant messaging, and social networking.

The operator announced it was one of 17 key organisations in the industry committed to Mozilla’s Firefox OS open web device initiative  and began a partnership with iMENA Holdings, a company focused on supporting the development of online consumer businesses the in the region.

Another partnership with international significance was a global consultancy agreement with Huawei. This includes cooperation key Etisalat projects, such as recent investments in 4G LTE -lightning fast fourth-generation mobile connectivity -networks and over-the-top (OTT) media offerings such as its popular e-Plus packages. The deal was described by Mr Julfar as a “win-win situation”.

The UAE-based operator also signed a deal with Alcatel-Lucent to expand its 4G LTE coverage across its operations including a new partnership in Sri Lanka.

Etisalat’s participation in the MWC was not limited to forming new partnerships. One of its products, Etisalat Commerce Programme -Flous, an application for conducting a variety of financial transactions with mobile devices, scored a remarkable victory when it was named best mobile money product in the Global Mobile Awards 2013.

“It’s tremendous to be recognised in this way at the most important event in the global telecoms calendar,” Mr Julfar said of the achievement.

Key executives within the organisation also displayed thought leadership when Daniel Ritz, Chief Strategy Officer for the Etisalat Group, and Khalifa Al Shamsi, Chief Digital Services Officer for the Etisalat Group, both shared their industry experiences with the congress.During the congress, the operator  displayed its dedication to innovation when it combined with Wirecard to demonstrate pioneering products, such as a fast and efficient method of making contactless payments with smartphones and a credit card reader for mobile phones.

In a sign that Etisalat is looking to the future with more innovation in mind, it announced membership of the M2M (machine-to-machine) Multi-Operator Alliance, an organisation dedicated to bringing M2M technology -a term for the exchange of data between machines and IT infrastructure -to the market.

“Yet another successful trip to this major international congress has proved that Etisalat is a dynamic organisation that is looking to the future and implementing new ideas,” Mr Julfar said.

Strong commitment to excellence and innovation has seen Etisalat become one of the world’s fastest-growing telecom groups, rapidly expanding across Asia and Africa.

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