End of an era as Osman Sultan steps down as du CEO in 2020

UAE telco Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) has announced the departure of long-standing CEO, Osman Sultan, to be replaced by Johan Dennelind, who is set to assume the role early next year. Sultan has been the CEO of du since its launch in 2006.

As he was…Osman Sultan at the time of his appointment as EITC CEO in 2006

Continue reading →

Vodafone makes a play for Oman. Is it the correct one?

UK telco Vodafone is set to become the third operator in Oman after signing an agreement with the Ministry of Transport and Communications that will see Oman Future Telecommunications work with the firm to deploy the country’s third mobile network.

The UK new entrant will have its work cut out for it with respect to gaining market share with Oman’s mobile penetration rate estimated at over 150%

In May, the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Oman said a memorandum of understanding had been signed between a group of investment funds in Oman and Vodafone. Upon commercialisation, Vodafone will become the third cellco in Oman behind Omantel and Nawras, and will also have to contend with two mobile virtual network operators – Virgin Mobile Middle East and Renna Mobile.

The UK new entrant will have its work cut out for it with respect to gaining market share with Oman’s mobile penetration rate estimated at over 150%.

Democratisation…of technology…under threat

The decision by the US to add Huawei and some of its affiliates to a trade blacklist back in May, which had additional Huawei-linked companies added to the list this week, is a concerning development in the rise of powerful forces grappling to deal with the effects of the democratisation of technology through digitisation.

The rise of geopolitics as a method of framing the course of technological advancement and influence is a worrying trend, and has the power to diminish the digital dazzle created by the Web over the last three decades

Continue reading →

5G windfalls are going to take hard graft for service providers to achieve

Disclosure by Samsung recently of weak sales momentum for its premium Galaxy S10 device and stagnant demand for other high-end mobiles in its product line in the quarter to end-June, compounds similar pronouncements from Apple that sales of its iconic, and not inexpensive, iPhone continue to decline. The waning appetite for devices priced above US$500 points to a shift in market sentiment that seems to suggest that features included in high-end devices no longer justify the premium charged over medium-range ones. Or at least points to – and service providers and device manufacturers will be keenly hoping as much – consumers holding off spending top dollar on current generation devices in anticipation of the mass introduction of 5G handsets in the quarters to follow.

Samsung recently disclosed weak sales momentum for its premium Galaxy S10 device and stagnant demand for other high-end mobiles, as have rival device manufacturers

Continue reading →

Regulation hinders uptake of mobile money transfer services in India

Vodafone Idea, the India mobile operator created last year by the merger of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular, has announced plans to close its m-Pesa mobile money transfer business alongside the Payments Bank previously operated under the Idea brand, according to media reports in India.

The economic model for the Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank is described as being no longer viable, and Vodafone Idea is also set to stop operating m-Pesa

During the company’s recent fiscal Q1 media call, Vodafone Idea CEO, Balesh Sharma said the economic model for the Aditya Birla Idea Payments Bank was no longer viable and together with winding-up the unit, Vodafone Idea would also move to stop operating m-Pesa.

Sharma attributed the decisions to regulatory changes for the banking business and deterioration of the telecommunications sector.

Abitya Birla Idea Payments Bank was part of a scheme by authorities in India to increase access to financial saving services, though similar services from Bharti Airtel and Paytm have also faced difficulties, with both forced to suspend services by regulators for a period during 2018.