LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 MENA, DUBAI: Etisalat, one of the Middle East’s largest mobile operators, is confident the IoT space is “light at the end of the tunnel” for operators struggling with declining revenues but warned the market needs to step up efforts to reap the rewards of an $11 billion opportunity.

Speaking in the opening keynote session this morning, Salvador Anglada, chief business officer of Etisalat, admitted operators are “struggling” to make revenue from voice and mobile data services.

“IoT could bring revenue growth to compensate,” he declared: “It could create value for users and society.”

Anglada claimed the addressable market for IoT will be around $11 billion. IoT holds the potential to unlock up to 11 per cent in incremental GDP in the next decade, with every $1 spent on IoT producing $14.50 of incremental GDP.

“30 per cent of this should be taken by the operators,” he stated, adding operators need to “move up and down the value chain” and play a much stronger role in delivering IoT services.

“Operators need to make an effort to occupy a bigger slice of the value chain – there’s an opportunity to occupy a central place. We don’t just want to capture connectivity but end-to-end services. In the [Gulf Cooperation Council] GCC region value will be on the services side, particularly smart living services.”

Etisalat Digital
Anglada cited the operator’s progress in launching subsidiary Etisalat Digital as an example.

It partnered with Tesla and Nissan in the smart car space, Adnoc for smart petrol stations, the Protocol Department of Dubai for smart buildings, Rakbank and Bank of Baroda for smart retail, and is also planning to launch a smart park towards the end of 2018 (the Dubai Safari Park).