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The most anticipated panel at the 12th Telecom Review Leaders’ Summit was the Telecom leaders’ panel, in which industry leaders have debated the role of operators in digital transformation.

 Dr. Imad Hoballah, Provost and Chief Academic Officer, American University in Dubai (AUD) who was the moderator of the panel, asked the panelists about their perception of digital transformation and how operators have managed to digitize their operations.

Emre Gurkan, CEO of touch, Marwan Hayek, CEO and Chairman of Alfa, Osman Sultan, CEO of EITC, Hussein Rifai, CEO and Founder, MDIC and Dr. Kamal Shehadi, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer, Etisalat International, all took part in the panel.

“5G is not only about technology. It is nice to see demonstrations of advanced technologies just like we witnessed today live 5G demos. Of course, technology leads but a whole ecosystem should follow. Then comes the regulations”, said Dr. Kamal Shehadi.

Osman Sultan agreed with Dr. Shehadi on the fact that 5G is not only about technology and explained that social networks were the main reason behind the accelerated development of networks.

He said, “Growth came from outside, from those who created social networks. We, operators, were more focused on infrastructure.”

Explaining his perception of digitization, Osman Sultan stated, “Digitization is when all data is aggregated and when all of the technologies behind the buzzwords we’re hearing today come together. This is when a digital ecosystem is formed.”

CEO and Chairman of Alfa, Marwan Hayek, disagreed with the statement that 5G is not about technology, emphasizing that technology is the starting point. “Technology can save lives, it is preventing car accidents and through Artificial intelligence, it is making healthcare accessible to everyone. So how can we not consider it as the starting point?”

Emre Gurkan, CEO, touch highlighted how his main goal was to change the name of competition. “Competition will be driven by customers’ demands. That should be the core of the competition in the telco market. The main goal should be sustaining revenues and delivering our part of the GDP.”

According to Hussein Rifai, CEO and Founder of MDIC, operators should have the right culture to achieve digitization, however “they are not feeling the urgency to digitize. Even though many are launching pertinent initiatives, however, they haven’t put in place any strategy.”



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