LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 MIDDLE EAST: Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, head of Etisalat Group, highlighted the UAE’s approach to telecoms regulation as a model that will support mobile growth across the Arab world.
Speaking in the opening keynote session here in Dubai, Julfar (pictured above) hailed the UAE as “one of the most successful telecoms markets in the region”, especially with regards to spectrum. “We have more spectrum available in the UAE than any of the other markets where we operate,” he noted. “We have a good economy and good regulation [in the UAE].”
Julfar was preceded on stage by H.E. Hamad Al Mansoori (pictured left), the Director General of the UAE’s Telecoms Regulatory Authority (TRA), who had set out the local government’s strategy for supporting digital growth. He talked of the government and the private sector working together to achieve “common goals” and responding quickly to rapid technological change.
This was a theme continued by Julfar: “Even in UAE, we are just scratching the surface [of the digital revolution]. Governments need to adapt… and embrace change. It’s like a high speed train bypassing your station – do you get on or do you get left behind? Regulators in many countries are not yet geared up to support the future.”
Julfar noted that Etisalat was active in 19 “very different” markets across the Middle East and North Africa, as well as being the market leader in the UAE. He described Etisalat as “a digital enablement platform” and an “enabler of social and economic growth.”