The potential value of providing Digital Entertainment, Applications and other Digital and Commerce Services in the Middle East and North Africa could exceed US$3bn by 2015, according to the Etisalat Group's Chief Digital Services Officer who was speaking at a conference in Dubai on Tuesday.
Chief Digital Services Officer Khalifa Al Shamsi said: "Although telecommunications companies need to protect their core voice and access services, they also realise that digital services is a growth opportunity. This is why the Etisalat Group has created its own dedicated unit to launch innovations in digital entertainment and commerce services, as well as solutions that support healthcare and machine-to-machine (M2M) functionality." Khalifa addressed over 100 delegates in a keynote speech at STL Partner's Digital Arabia Conference which is taking place at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel this week.
Al Shamsi continued: "The world has been connected and changed forever as consumers are radically shifting their behaviour to the online world. This is a potential threat for certain traditional telecommunications services, but for us, it represents a great opportunity. Operators such as the Etisalat Group have significant assets and resources that can be activated to support Internet companies and other players in a win-win partnership, or to develop competitive services in their own right." Al Shamsi presented the many different digital services and the growth forecast for each. The most important is digital entertainment, although massive growth is also expected in areas such as mobile advertising, financial services, cloud computing and M2M.
Etisalat has won a plethora of awards and global recognition for its digital services portfolio. These include three Global Mobile Awards from the GSMA in 2012 and being named the Middle East's most innovative company for two consecutive years at the International Business Awards.
The Digital Arabia conference is sponsored by both Etisalat and its Saudi Arabian operator, Mobily and has been organized to bring together members of different business segments to identify the opportunities for mutual cooperation in the digital arena.