Du CEO warns industry to "absorb change" - Mobile World Live

Du CEO warns industry to “absorb change”

21 OCT 2013

LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360-MIDDLE EAST: Osman Sultan, CEO of UAE integrated operator du, fired a warning shot to operators this morning, claiming they need to “absorb change” in order to adapt to the fast-moving nature of the digital age.

“One might feel that we are still focused on technology. New technologies are bringing new capabilities. The important thing is new behaviour. All that has been mentioned about smart health, smart education, smart travel, smart government, will induce fundamental new behaviours which I see as a huge opportunity,” he said.

While optimistic about the future for operators, noting that they will “be at the heart of an ecosystem that will enable every business to reach their customer”, the executive noted that the position of operators in the value chain is still in a state of flux.

“We are losing our relevance. Your kids do not passionately debate whether it is better to have a du or Etisalat line. And not because the answer is obvious. It is because it is not relevant. But they have a passionate discussion about if they are on an iPhone, or Samsung or Nokia phone. Or whether they are using Instagram or WhatsApp,” he said.

While Sultan also echoed earlier comments from operator CEOs about the need to partner with OTT players, he cautioned that this should be done “from a strong negotiation position in this value change. And today, we do not have it”.

“We will become more and more agile, we will become more and more innovative, because someone is eating our bread and butter,” he said.

However, against a backdrop of debate about the importance of partnerships, the executive also noted that operators have been slow in collaborating with each other. “We need to collaborate among ourselves faster. We do not do this fast enough as an industry,” he said.

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