Archive | Telecoms

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority hosts a power consumption reduction awareness workshop

Telecommunications Regulatory Authority hosts a power consumption reduction awareness workshop

4136The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) hosted an awareness workshop today in partnership with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) on the reduction of overall energy consumption, at its Dubai headquarters. The workshop aims to target all participating TRA staff in spreading the culture of rationalization across the workplace and the conservation of natural resources, as part of the sustainable development on a nation level.

Entitled “General Conservation Practices and Facts”, the workshop was held with video conferencing capabilities, enabling the participation of employees in the Abu Dhabi office to participate and gain the necessary benefits. The workshop included a detailed discussion on the essential steps and practices that will assist in the conservation of all energy sources for the workplace, home as well as public utilities.Hosting this workshop is one of the TRA’s consistent efforts to promote the conservation of resources and consumption management, in line with the nation’s inclusive strategy.

The agenda of the workshop included showcasing the most important methods and techniques enforcing the adoption of eco-friendly, energy efficient technologies pertaining to electricity and water resources. Thus, promoting the rationalizing daily use of the nation’s natural resources.



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‘Saudi CIOs and IT Managers Need to Look at Five Areas to Control Data Risk in the BYOD Onslaught’, Advises Expert

‘Saudi CIOs and IT Managers Need to Look at Five Areas to Control Data Risk in the BYOD Onslaught’, Advises Expert

4151Data protection has always been a challenge, even when data flow was, more or less, confined to a closed network system. Now, we have the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) era in which your employees and contractors basically feel they should be able to use whatever device they want to create information, share it and retrieve it at will. It makes previous risk mitigation issues look relatively simple. The challenge and potential for risk will only increase. IDC forecasted that by 2017, the number of global workers bringing their own smart phones to work will reach 328 million, up from the estimated 175 million workers doing so in 2014.[1] Company-purchased smart phones are also on the rise, with an anticipated 88 million in use by 2017, up from an estimated 69 million in 2014.

Tablets, too, are on a fast trajectory. Forrester Research reports that by 2017, nearly one in five tablet purchases will be made directly by companies. That equates to roughly 68 million tablets flooding the workplace.[2] The numbers tell the story: BYOD and the flexibility it gives our highly mobile workers are here to stay. Happy as employees may be to use mobile devices, it presents an enormous challenge to CIOs who must set new standards and policies across the enterprise to protect data and mitigate risk. CIOs are working with their IT teams to put into place systems, rules and technology that will allow workers the computing freedom they desire, at the same time ensuring data is safe, retrievable and to the best possible extent, risk free. Nizar Elfarra, Pre Sales Director at CommVault outlines five areas that CIOs and IT managers in Saudi need to be watchful about when deciding the best data management and protection solution:

Enabling File Synchronization

Enterprises view BYOD as a way to increase productivity, and that means enabling work to continue without delay across the different devices used by employees. They need a file synchronization solution that meets data security objectives while enabling data access, whether the data was created at an office desktop, or on a laptop at a different location. While employees send files to the cloud or put them on USB drives, assumedly to work on later at home, often they may not be able to return to the file and wind up working on it again, back at the desktop or laptop. This creates risk because business data now resides in a potentially unsecured location and different versions of the files exist in different locations. It’s critical to managing risk to be able to pull different data sources into a single pool of protection, management and access.

Efficiently Protecting Data

As employees use as many as three devices a day, data governance takes on more complexity. Even less sensitive data needs to be governed as files move across

devices, and outside the enterprise, to suppliers and customers. It is important to have a solution that helps to prevent data loss by enabling efficient, rapid and transparent

backup for business-critical data on laptops and desktops through deduplication, opportunistic scheduling, bandwidth throttling, flexible policy definition,

and the intelligence to run a backup only if a file has changed.

Easily Accessing Files While Mobile

Employees will no doubt expect the same quick access to files while using a mobile device as they have from their laptop or desktop. The solution needs to be able to deliver data portability and self-service access to a secure, personal data cloud so that they are able to access their files from virtually anywhere, at any time, and also protect files from their tablet or phones.

Fast eDiscovery

It’s also necessary to be able to access and retrieve documents that have legal

and compliance relevance, regardless of where they reside, without having to spend

a lot of resources retrieving laptops from far flung locations. The solution needs to have simplified administration and the ability to rapidly find key documents. Chief Legal Officers (CLOs) will thus be able to create legal holds and choose the best strategy earlier in the audit or litigation process.

Dealing with Data on Lost or Stolen Endpoints

Data breaches are becoming more prevalent these days. Employees’ increasing mobility only adds more probability to these types of incidences. One of the major enterprise concerns is the incidence of lost or stolen laptops. File encryption is essential to preventing unauthorized access that can occur. Remote wipe can be used to delete files and geo-location is a valuable tool in tracking lost laptops. Techniques like IP address logging can be used to identify where a laptop or desktop is located to determine if it has been lost or to help recover it.The solution needs to allow administrators to set policies that define granular encryption rules down to the file level.

BYOD’S NEXT FRONTIER

Like it or not, CIOs and IT teams are going to face even more complex challenges as the mobility and BYOD trends continue to accelerate. To further minimize data loss andbreach risk, CIOs are looking at new ideas such as ‘geo-fencing’ in which an employee

can only access certain data within a specified physical distance from a secure building.

It is a critical time in BYOD’s evolution as executives are examining ways to advance data protection solutions that work in a mobile environment.


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du CEO speaks at GSMA Mobile 360 Series Middle East

du CEO speaks at GSMA Mobile 360 Series Middle East

Osman Sultan, CEO, du, addressed the GSMA Mobile 360 Series Middle East during GITEX 2014.

484Delivering the keynote speech on the first day of Mobile 360 Series, Sultan said that “smart living has played a key role through generations. Only the definition of ‘smart’ has changed as enablers have moved from ‘unshared certainties’ of the past, where each industry functioned independently, to the integrated world of today, where the customer is king.”

He predicted that: “Tomorrow’s innovation will be driven by the necessity and pressure to change according to customer demands. An environment for exploring inquiries and accidental discoveries will be the governing factors for driving economic activity in the future.”

In order for this to be commercially viable, “the need of the hour is to host dialogue between telcos, to build business models and join hands beyond geographical boundaries to work in the mobile ad revenue space.”

The GSMA Mobile 360 Series – Middle East conference is exploring key challenges and opportunities applicable in all markets. Now in its second year, the conference is co-located with GITEX and provides an opportunity to distinguished regional industry stakeholders from both developed and emerging markets to share their experiences and further the development of mobile broadband.



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TRA hosts Frequency Coordination meeting with the Republic of Belarus to discuss satellite networks

TRA hosts Frequency Coordination meeting with the Republic of Belarus to discuss satellite networks

436The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) hosted a Satellite Frequency Coordination meeting for officials from the UAE and the Republic of Belarus to discuss techniques to resolve interference between respective satellite networks. Held in the TRA Dubai offices, the meeting occurred from September 30th to October 1st, 2014.

Through an agreement between the UAE and Belarus administrations, it was decided that frequency requirements of the satellite networks needed coordination. Concerned representatives from Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat) and Thuraya Telecommunications were also present and played a pivotal role in the meeting.

H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, TRA Director General said, “This crucial meeting allowed both administrations to reach a mutual resolution for the interference between UAE and Belarusian satellite networks. As UAE ICT representatives, TRA has undertaken the role of gathering all concerned operators, specifically agents from Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat) and Thuraya Telecommunications. Both organisations provided insightful points and recommendations which will help in reaching the meeting’s key messages.”

“The TRA is constantly aiming to advance the UAE’s relationships by looking at opportunities to collaborate with relevant international ICT organizations to increase the nation’s networks. Witnessing the discussion and approval between both sides was delightful and we all anticipate future cooperation and interactions with the Republic of Belarus,” he added.

The discussion primarily addressed technical coordination of the UAE and Belarus satellite networks in the X-band as well as between the YAHSAT and Belarus satellite networks in the planned FSS-band. Both administrations exhibited cooperative measures to use frequencies eliminating interference under approved arrangements.

The UAE and Belarusian delegates concluded a successful meeting, with both parties expressing their fulfilment with the discussion outcomes. Both administrations aim to continue their joint support to satisfy future endeavours.




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Kalaam Telecom and datamena sign Point of Presence (PoP) agreement

Kalaam Telecom and datamena sign Point of Presence (PoP) agreement

4120Kalaam Telecom, the second largest telecommunications provider for corporate services in Bahrain, announced today that it has signed an agreement with datamena, a carrier-neutral transit and content hub that provides an interconnection platform for international carriers, content and service providers in the Middle East, to establish a Point of Presence (PoP) that will enable Kalaam to leverage datamena’s strategic location and rich ecosystem and expand Kalaam’s reach into the Middle East, Europe and beyond.

Kalaam is steadily growing to become a one-stop shop for global carriers, and is able to peer directly with other regional and international ISPs through the fast-growing UAE-IX. By joining datamena’s carrier-neutral platform, Kalaam will carry all SDH, Ethernet and EoSDH traffic from existing carriers at datamena to Bahrain and the rest of GCC and Middle East through its extensive network of NNIs and own PoPs, said Eyad Al Naqi, Head of Wholesale & Carrier Relations, Kalaam Telecom. “Not only will this initiative help Kalaam stretch its footprint in the region, but it will also add more diversified, low-latency options for our enterprise and corporate customers to choose from for their international connectivity needs,” Mr. Al Naqi explained.

Mahesh Jaishankar, Vice President – datamena and broadcast, du, said: “The ideal combination of our geostrategic location and interconnection facilities are the key reasons why datamena is increasingly being preferred by global and regional entities. We are glad to welcome Kalaam Telecom into the datamena family and we consider this as the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship.”


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Professional services to enable new age of telecom connectivity in MENA

Professional services to enable new age of telecom connectivity in MENA

478With the Middle East telecom sector set for continued growth in the second half of 2014, industry analysts and more than 25 regional telecom operators gathered this week at the annual Huawei MENA Services Conference to discuss new trends and exchange initiatives on Professional Services to deliver greater value to their subscribers.

The two-day customized conference encompassed a variety of dedicated seminars and panel discussions during which participants were able to address current industry challenges such as growing customer demands in MBB, reducing operational expenditures, improving service quality, and the convergence of ICT and transformation strategies.

In recent years telecom operators in the Middle East have started to leverage new trends and best in class Professional Services enabling them to elevate the quality of their services to comply with industry standards and to expand their view from network-focused operations to actual service-focused innovation and customer experience management. These Professional Services are typically offered by leading vendors such as Huawei and include technology consulting, network integration, network managed services, customer support, and customer experience assurance.

“The digital revolution, driven by end-users’ desire to dramatically change the way they connect with family and friends, the way they work, and the way they communicate, requires the industry to transform. End-users want real time, on demand, always online communications capabilities that are do it yourself simple. Having opportunities such as the Huawei MENA Services Conference to discuss industry transformation with stakeholders from across the region allows participants to identify exciting collaborative opportunities through Professional Services to drive the transformation of ICT from a network-centric focus to an experience-centric focus.” says Dr. Leroy G. Blimegger Jr. Global President Assurance & Managed Services

The demand for revolving Managed Services and smart outsourcing remains particularly strong within the Middle East telecommunications sector, with a broader and deeper scope. Changes in the telecom business environment coupled with the explosion of mobile services and applications were also noted as driving local operators to invest more in Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to cultivate further commercial opportunities.

“Keeping our customers at the heart of everything we do, cooperation on Professional Services  has been a longstanding tradition of Mobily as we look to leverage the very best global expertise and experiences in our offerings,” adds Ashraf Ismail Ibrahim, Senior Executive Officer for Network Operation & Maintenance for Mobily. “Forums like the Huawei MENA Services Conference enable us to realize these ambitions through co-creating platforms that can really differentiate our services in the market.”

“The Middle East and North Africa is an extraordinary market where investments in capacity, managed services and customer experience transformation are seeing rapid uptake by the telecom community,” notes Michael Sullivan, Executive Analyst - Networking & Mobility Practice at Technology Business Research. “Professional Services that can support these offerings will be an important evolutionary step within the region as operators are in turn able to deliver customized multimedia broadband services in a more efficient manner.”

In a white paper released last year by conference organizers Huawei, the company conducted a study evaluating and analyzing the development of the telecom managed services (MS) business globally and how the industry is moving from the traditional outsourcing model in which the main driver is cost reduction to a new partner-based model that seeks to add value to the business of the operator at all levels.

Huawei has been a pioneering leader in the Professional Services market globally as well as in the Middle East, where the company has provided consultancy and managed services to leading operators including Etisalat, du, Zain, Mobily, Wataniya, Nawras, and others.



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The TRA to announce The National Plan for UAE Smart Government Goals

The TRA to announce The National Plan for UAE Smart Government Goals

453The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is working toannounce The National Plan for UAE Smart Government Goals.

In May 2013, H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the mGovernment Initiative with the aim of providing government services to the public round-the-clock through mobile phones and smart devices.

The National Plan for UAE Smart Government Goals takes the UAE mGovernment Initiative to the next level as it lays down detailed measures for the UAE’s mTransformation and to mobilise the stakeholders in the public and private sectors to provide services through mobile phones and smart devices by engaging intelligent service-delivery methods such as mobile applications that are based on predictive analytics.

Stressing on the importance of The National Plan, H. E. Hamad Al Mansoori, Director General, UAE mGovernment, TRA says, “When H. H. Sheikh Mohammed launched the mGovernment Initiative, he had envisioned facilitating people’s lives and bringing them happiness by providing fast-track, reliable and five-star services. Achieving the UAE mGovernment’s goals is a national priority and I hope that with collective efforts we can achieve the UAE leadership’s vision of integrated government services that would be available to citizens at any time and at any place.”

The National Plan for UAE Smart Government Goals contains collaborative initiatives between the stakeholders. It is based on the UAE mGovernment Guidelines, the UAE mGovernment Roadmap, the PMO’s studies and surveys on mGovernment, the diverse background of involved stakeholders and the expertise of the Smart Government Team at the TRA that has based their studies on global Smart Government frameworks and international benchmarks and best practices.

While, the UAE mGovernment Roadmap details plans until May 2015, the National Plan goes beyond that.

The TRA is currently in the process of holding meetings with the various stakeholders to provide an overview to the Plan, assess the level of their technological infrastructure, discuss the measures to achieve mTransformation and agree on mutual cooperation to execute a feasible roadmap of initiatives that capitalises on latest trends and best practices.

The UAE mGovernment promises to have huge economic benefits and values. The UAE mGovernment recently launched the UAE’s official mGovernment App Store, which is a repository of all the official mobile applications that provide UAE government services.

The UAE mGovernment is also in the process of launching three other initiatives to complement and achieve the goals of the UAE mGovernment. These are: Federal Network (FedNet), which will act as a link between the various government agencies that provide services to clients and provide for the secure and reliable exchange of data and services; the National Trusted Service Manager (NTSM), which will enable service providers to distribute and manage their contactless applications remotely by allowing access to the secure element in NFC-enabled handsets; and Center of Digital Innovation (CoDI), a state-of-art laboratory for testing the government applications.





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Ooredoo’s VIP Number Auction Raises over QR 30 Million

Ooredoo’s VIP Number Auction Raises over QR 30 Million

4145Qatar telecommunications company Ooredoo held a VIP charity auction for 50 special telephone numbers on Tuesday night, as part of its on-going corporate social responsibility work.

VIP guests and customers were invited to bid for their favourite number from a range of 50 special numbers auctioned at the Four Seasons Hotel in Doha.

The auction, which is an annual event, experienced its strongest ever demand as customers joined in the spirit of giving back to the community, and bid for the VIP numbers.

The overall figure raised on the night was a massive QR 30,167,000, with the highest auctioned number selling at a world record-breaking QR 10, 100,000. The previous world auction record was QR 10 million for the number 66666666.

This is Ooredoo’s ninth year of organising special number auctions, and since 2005, the company has donated millions of Qatari Riyals to charity. The proceeds of the events go into a general charity fund, which is then distributed to humanitarian causes in Qatar, or as emergency aid for those in need around the world.

The most desirable special numbers were those that started with the same number, had many of the same numbers, or had parallel digits such as ‘234’. Previous Ooredoo auctions found that simpler numbers sold for more due to memorability and status factors.

For more information on Ooredoo’s CSR campaigns, customers can visit the Ooredoo website at www.ooredoo.qa.




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Etisalat Group Transforms Mobile Banking Service in Nigeria; Launches Innovative Smartphone App

Etisalat Group Transforms Mobile Banking Service in Nigeria; Launches Innovative Smartphone App

41Leading mobile telecommunications provider, Etisalat Group, through its subsidiary in Nigeria, announced the launch of a new and comprehensive smartphone app that will enable customers to access their mobile money services faster and with more ease. The introduction of the innovative app expands the company’s award-winning mobile banking offerings to customers. The app is available for free download from various online app stores.

Since September 2012, Etisalat has partnered with leading international and regional banks including GTBank, Zenith Bank, Stanbic Bank, First Bank Nigeria, as well as Paga Payment Network to allow Etisalat Nigeria customers to conveniently access banking services through their mobile phones. Till date, the service has successfully registered over 15 million SIM ‘Tool Kit’ application downloads on consumer SIM cards.

Khalifa Al Forah, Etisalat Group’s Chief Digital Services Officer said, “Etisalat is at the forefront of technology innovation, bringing market relevant and transformational services to its customers across the group markets. Nigeria currently has a smartphone penetration of over 10% and it expected to reach 40% in the next two years. By enabling people to use their mobile phones to access advanced banking services, we not only hope to deliver lasting benefits to our customers , but also contribute to the socio-economic development of the economies of Nigeria and other countries that we operate in.”

Etisalat’s new smartphone app adds new dimensions to its existing mobile banking service. It supports all currently available functions and allows for more flexibility and convenience through additional features. The new app supports all major platforms including Android, Apple iOS, Windows Mobile and Java. It has a crisp, intuitive user interface accessible in English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba languages.  It uses advanced ISO-1 compliant security features which ensure safe customer transactions that cannot be intercepted or manipulated by fraudsters. The app provides easy user interaction through icons, pictograms and bar-code reading functionalities.

To develop this transformational service expansion, Etisalat has been working with globally renowned financial and technology partners in Nigeria to comply with local and global banking regulations and to facilitate payments and settlements in line with internationally recognised standards.

Etisalat is also partnering with major Nigerian financial institutions such as NIBSS, banks and major global players such as MasterCard Worldwide to provide customers bill payment facility, merchant transactions and merchant trading solutions. These partnerships also allow Etisalat customers to top-up airtime for family and friends, regardless of which network they are on.

Matthew Willsher, CEO Etisalat Nigeria said, “Research has shown that m-banking and m-payments can help lower the transaction costs of money transfer, increase the flow of money by making it easier to send smaller amounts as well as introduce efficient tool for secure financial management. We believe the benefits to our customers will be immense and that this has the potential to transform the way we handle and manage money in this country. The mobile phone has already improved African life in so many ways - it’s exciting to think it now has the potential to replace notes and coins and give all of our customers’ access to world-class banking services.”

Etisalat currently offers mobile commerce services in 11 operations of the group. Its Mobile Wallet service “Flous” is an industrial grade, open-loop commerce ecosystem which includes mobile payments (merchants, utility, transportation), money transfers (domestic and International), bank accounts/payment cards management, secure access, ticketing, as well as merchant payment acceptance service “Mobile Cashier”.

In 2013, the ‘Flous’ won prestigious GSMA MWC award in Barcelona as “The Best NFC/ Mobile Money Product”, received special recognition from the IFC/World Bank in the “Technology in sustainable Finance” category and was honoured with Mobile Banking Kalahari Award in Lagos, Nigeria.


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du Celebrates More than Two Successful Years of Emirati Plan

du Celebrates More than Two Successful Years of Emirati Plan

41462014 is the year when Emirati Plan – du’s exclusive plan for UAE nationals will enter its third year, and yet it stands head and shoulders above any other comparable plan in the market. Beside the clear advantages enjoyed by UAE nationals through its attractive data and calling benefits proposition, not to mention lifestyle benefits such as special number, one of the most distinctive features of Emirati Plan is the fact that it allows the customer to give back to their community by utilising 5% of the plan’s monthly fee towards sustainability efforts. This is a plan that truly unites du and its customers in their mission of becoming closer to the wider community.

A distinct plan

Emirati Plan is unique and feature-rich, due to a plethora of in-built benefits and advantages. Thousands of customers have benefitted tremendously from the plan, since 2011 – the year that Emirati Plan was launched.  The Emirati 250 Plan, for example, comes bundled with 1000 national minutes, 500 national SMS, flexible data up to 11 GB combined with Smartphone Privilege Offer, – all at a monthly fee of AED 250! Other derivatives of Emirati Plan include Emirati 100 Plan and Emirati 500 Plan. For full details of the various plans, their benefits and rewards, please visit: http://www.du.ae/en/mobile/plans/Emirati/benefits?gclid=CJCqzaHA3b0CFaQfwwod9YQAtg

Fahad AlHassawi, du’s Chief Commercial Officer, says: “It’s a matter of significant pride that Emirati Plan has touched the chords of its intended target audience - UAE nationals. We have successfully demonstrated that an innovative thought combined with noble intention can not only make customers smile but also have a larger collective societal impact. We thank our customers for their unstinted support in making Emirati Plan such a success.”

Importantly, du donates 5% of the monthly fees from Emirati Plan customers towards a societal cause of their choice and has notably supported social campaigns such as renovating and rebuilding homes in the UAE in collaboration with The Ministry of Public Works, among contribution to other campaigns.




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