Faisal Al Bannai leads newly unveiled national defence entity, EDGE

Following media reports last month that Faisal Al Bannai, Founder and former Managing Director of UAE cyber security firm DarkMatter, was looking to exit the business altogether by year-end, last week he made his first public appearance as CEO and Managing Director of a newly created national defence technology-focused conglomerate called EDGE.

The different entities under EDGE combined employ 12,000 staff and generate annual revenues of approximately US$ 5 billion.

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Changing cyber security landscape in the ME points to maturity

The cyber security industry in the Middle East is showing signs of maturing, should the recent in-region developments be an indicator of the evolution and transformation of the way business is being conducted and by whom in this part of the world. In the latest indication of a changing landscape, media reports in the UAE point to Faisal Al Bannai, Founder and Managing Director of UAE-based cyber security firm DarkMatter Group, planning on divesting his entire stake in the company by the end of the year.

In September, Etisalat announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire full ownership of Help AG’s businesses in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The telco said the acquisition is part of its plans to diversify operations

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Zain Saudi Arabia launches region’s largest 5G network to date

In the most significant early bet on the long-term viability of 5G technology in the Middle East, Zain Saudi Arabia announced the launch of 5G in the Kingdom, with the first phase of the rollout being implemented through a network of 2,000 towers that cover an area of more than 20 cities.  This massive rollout is set to be followed by a gradual expansion of the network to cover a total of 26 cities utilising 2,600 towers by the end of 2019.

Zain Saudi Arabia’s massive 5G rollout is set to be followed by a gradual expansion of the network to cover a total of 26 cities utilising 2,600 towers by the end of 2019

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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

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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%.