LIVE FROM HUAWEI GLOBAL MBB FORUM 2021, DUBAI: Khalifa Al Shamsi, chief strategy and governance officer at Etisalat Group (pictured), explained the operator group was soul searching to determine how to adapt its business model and respond to changing connectivity requirements, urging an industry shake-up to capitalise on the digital opportunity.

In the opening keynote, Al Shamsi discussed a deep internal review assessing how Etisalat operated its pipes and frequencies, along with how it provides services to its customers, as it looks to create better value.

He acknowledged operators’ core revenue has been under pressure for a while, arguing it is now time for action to respond to changes in the world and the industry.

Etisalat’s battle plan is based on creating and mastering “smart programmable connectivity”, Al Shamsi noted.

Expanding, Al Shamsi explained operators should no longer focus their packages and offers on selling gigabytes of data, but instead focus on separating their vast assets into different services to create value based on different requirements.

Not a single company
The Etisalat executive argued operators can no longer be “just a single company and service all customers at the same level”, instead being focused and segmented, and provide different connectivity approaches for different areas and use cases.

“For example, the connectivity we provide for smart meters must be different from connectivity for autonomous vehicles. We can’t just price things based per gigabit.”

Al Shamsi said the operator had “vanilla customers”, which had less sophisticated needs, were more cost conscious and slower to evolve to advances.

The second segment is the “potential services proposition”, targeting those seeking to enhance services with new capabilities, incremental improvements through better operations and developing heavily packaged offers.

A third segment is more catered to business, adding flexibility to existing business models, passing on opex savings if market conditions require it and developing packaged services for specific verticals.