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du is embracing disruptive technologies of tomorrow to create further growth and opportunities under the “Powering Governments, Shaping the Emirates Reality” theme during GITEX Global 2022. In an exclusive with Telecom Review, Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO of du, shares the company’s vision; its strategies moving forward to better enable people’s digital lifestyles and make sure that 5G coverage is readily available; and du’s role as the key enabler of government entities’ digital transformations and innovations in the public sector.

du has been actively carrying out initiatives in line with your transformation agenda. What is the reason behind this?

du has set up its vision to become a “leading digital telco.” Taking this vision and strategy forward, du has initiated big strategic projects that will propel the organization to the next level in its journey. To fulfill its ambition, du continues to focus on building and investing in the key enablers of our business, including mobile/fixed network expansion, IT greenfield transformation, customer experience, digitalization of our customer interfaces and growing in the new ICT business space.

To succeed in our vision and strategy, du has identified key focus areas:

  • Become the preferred operator in the UAE and diversify into new ICT business
  • Lead in customer experience and digitalize customer journeys
  • Deliver network excellence across the UAE (Lead 5G and Nationwide Fixed Play) and transform IT systems
  • Be the Best Employer for the Best Talent (both digital and future-ready skills)

Additionally, we have moved to our new headquarters (HQ) in Dubai Hills and introduced new culture and values to accommodate rapid growth and accelerate its transformation journey to a digital telco. The new space raises du’s office footprint and supports the company’s growth strategy as part of its ongoing transformation agenda. It offers an opportunity to further expand staffing and capabilities in multiple departments, as well as increase the telco’s ability to service current and future markets.

du aims to deliver on its ambitions for innovation, product development and excellent customer service. As part of du’s strategic growth initiative, it is bringing employee groups together to improve teamwork, advance innovation and increase efficiency – making du a more streamlined and agile company and improving profit growth for the organization.

Aiming to be an agile and forward-thinking telco, how will du continue to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of digital technologies?

Since the inception of its business, du has continuously strived to enhance and expand its services and deliver new solutions that drive economic and social transformation.  du is taking steps to transform the way its teams work, which represents a purpose and culture change within du – to become an agile, forward-thinking telco that is able to adapt to the challenges and opportunities presented by the acceleration of digital technologies. As such, du is committed to delivering transformative and sustainable change within the evolving digital landscape through the du network.

du is committed to providing “a network that gets you” in terms of customers’ network needs, whether it's a business organization or a normal consumer. Today, we continue to communicate our network journey through innovation, performance and being a pragmatic voice in the industry.

Innovation has been one of our key priorities in enhancing our network capabilities in 5G, fixed network services, fiber deployment, etc. du continues to be a pioneer in 5G and network solutions as well as delivering best-in-class network infrastructure. We are committed to smart networks transforming individuals’ lives and businesses by delivering the best network experiences across the UAE. Optimum network performance is an important key for enabling digital transformation in various industrial sectors.

Here at GITEX 2022, what can we look forward to from du’s participation?

du is embracing disruptive technologies of tomorrow to create further growth and opportunities under the “Powering Governments, Shaping The Emirates Reality” theme during GITEX Global 2022. du will showcase closer-to-reality concepts through interactive exhibits and demos that will bolster digital lifestyles and further drive the smart city agenda. Some of its other showcases at the event will dive into the realm of digital twin opportunities, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning, Metaverse, Web 3.0 and robotics.

Innovation is a key priority as du continues to be a pioneer in 5G and network solutions, as well as delivering best-in-class network infrastructure. du will showcase a wide array of industry-forward initiatives and officiate key partnerships throughout GITEX as it strives to drive digital transformation across industries such as government, finance, education, healthcare and retail.

du is committed to smart networks transforming lives across the UAE. This year, du focuses on networking the ICT services of the future by acting as a key enabler of government entities’ digital transformation and innovation in the public sector.

Some of its showcases will highlight new industry use cases through examples that show du’s strength in its innovation journey in 5G, blockchain, IoT and the Metaverse. The telco will also widen its portfolio of industry partnerships to spearhead innovation to drive success for stakeholders and partners alike.

With this year nearing its end, what are the key milestones for du in 2022, and what are your strategic plans for 2023?

In order to deliver our ambitious vision of becoming a “Leading Digital Telco,” du accelerated its transformation journey during 2022 – designing and integrating its key transformational initiatives under four pillars (Core & New Business, Customer Engagement, Network/IT/Data, and People & Talent) to build a foundation for rapid transformation in the years ahead.

du continues to be a key enabler of people’s digital lifestyles. In 2023, digital ecosystems will continue to rapidly evolve, and digital adoption will accelerate hybrid working and digitalization of enterprises. du continues to play a vital role in supporting the UAE’s digital infrastructure through the provision of communications and connectivity services.

Our ambition and plans for 2023 include identifying key levers to focus on and getting ahead of the competition. Focusing on consumers, we will be providing competitive home offerings (FWA and Fiber), a variety of content and innovative mobile offerings for our customers on the 5G network. Focusing on enterprise and ICT, we will continue to offer our managed services as well as data and connectivity products. We will combine this with complementing and diversifying our advanced and foundational ICT solutions portfolio focusing on data center, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) etc.

With regard to sustainability, du has initiated steps to remove fuel generator-powered mobile sites and instead link them directly to the electrical grid. In the near future, the company will also look into large-scale solar installations to speed up its move to clean, sustainable energy sources. Additionally, du plans to sign more MoUs to accelerate the digitalization of the UAE and make it easier to use new technologies in new areas.

How will du solidify its role in realizing the 5G promise of a faster mobile future?

5G is one of the transformative technologies having a major impact across the communications landscape following its successful rollout. du aims to play a key role in the digital agenda of the UAE markets by enabling the digital experience – the digital revolution – and making sure that 5G is the technology that is going to take the country to the next level. The telco has been dedicated in its 5G rollout, making sure that the 5G coverage is available for our customers so they can enjoy the experience and all the amazing use cases it supports.

du is also committed to enhancing our network capabilities in 5G, fixed network services and fiber deployment, among others. When du's 5G home wireless services started in 2022, users in the UAE were able to stream in high quality and choose from a wide range of 5G-powered options. They can enjoy live music performances, gaming tournaments, and real-time online movie screenings in stunning clarity. du continues to extend its 5G coverage throughout the nation, with the aim of reaching the majority of the population over the next several years. To improve its infrastructure and give more consumers access to its fiber network, du is expanding the national reach of its fiber network.

Moving forward, du aims to expand its 5G footprint and network across the UAE. Long-term strategic partnerships are crucial to increasing coverage and offering new experiences that change how people live, work, and play. At GITEX, du will be announcing new memorandums of understanding and partnerships with key organizations and government entities.

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