Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

Work with, not against Web giants, says du chief

Telecoms operators ought to 'exist in collaboration and alongside' over the top players like Facebook and Youtube instead of competing with them says Osman Sultan, chief executive of the UAE's second mobile operator du.

Telecoms operators ought to "exist in collaboration and alongside" players like Facebook and YouTube instead of competing with them, said the chief executive of du.

Osman Sultan is participating at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit today to address the role and business model of telecoms operators in new digital space marked by high data consumption. He pointed to the relationship with "over-the-top" (OTT) players, such as Facebook and YouTube.

"The incentive is not to compete with OTT players. The digital space is opening up and the main thing is to exist while others exist," said Mr Sultan. Telecoms operators in the region have so far struggled to monetise the growth in data usage on the mobile platform, reflecting a global trend.

OTT players are frequently accused of consuming large amounts of bandwidth on the networks while the telecoms operatorsfoot the bill of expensive infrastructure. Mobile operators charge customers for access to their networks, missing out on revenue from apps and downloads generated by OTT players.

Du hopes to solve this problem by creating a unified online platform to serve the Arab region. The company is in discussions with regional telecoms operators to work on developing its Anayou platform to generate a more robust revenue stream from the growing demand for data.

The company launched Anayou, an online platform for entertainment, music, film, news and social media in 2010. Du partnered with local media firms Rotana and MBC to provide content in Arabic, English and French, but has so far failed to ignite much interest.

"We believe that it is a concept that is in the interest of all operators," said Mr Sultan.

"It is not easy. [User] behaviours are changing, but it is still evolving and things are progressing."

Mr Sultan also said that he expected further growth in data consumption ahead of the operator's third quarter results.

Data revenue rose by almost 85 per cent in the second quartercompared with the same period last year.

thamid@thenational.ae

Updated: October 10, 2012 04:00 AM