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UAE telco du to focus more on OTT TV rather than offering IPTV as triple play through bitstream access

(Image credit: EITC)

UAE-based telecom operator du is to focus more on OTT TV rather than offering IPTV as triple play through bitstream access or network sharing deal with Etisalat.

The operator started offering dual play (broadband and fixed voice services) through bitstream in 2015.

IPTV is a system where television services are delivered through the internet rather than through the traditional satellite or cable formats.

 “TV is important but it is not something common. IPTV bitstream technically is feasible, but the financial equation does not fit as the margins go to the content providers. We are not eager to push it specifically as the OTT apps such as Netflix are more possible through the internet,”  Osman Sultan, Chief Executive Officer of EITC and du, told TechRadar Middle East, in a conference call.

He said that OTT TV is ahead of us and it is going to overtake the cable TV almost everywhere.

“For the moment, the overall financial equation is not there but I am keen to offer IPTV as a triple play. Until we sort out the discussions with Etisalat, which we are doing it, IPTV triple play option is not on the cards for now,” he said.

Sees fall in revenues

As telecom operators’ revenues are under pressure, du is also expanding beyond the UAE in non-connectivity businesses.

“Revenues are under pressure from pre-paid customers and monetisation of data usage. I see a trend of declining revenues in the second half despite post-paid revenues stabilising,” Sultan said.

However, he said that expanding beyond the UAE as a standard telco business is meaningless.

“The value that we have in the UAE for every dirham will bring us much more if we continue focusing here. We are expanding in the enterprise business, beyond connectivity, such as end-to-end solutions for enterprises and a more digital ecosystem for infotainment for consumers. We want to continue our double-digit growth,” he said.

Moreover, he said that doors are open for alliances and acquisitions.

“We are having discussions with other operators, not on the pure connectivity business. We are looking at opportunities,” he said.

New fibre optic cable between Pakistan and UAE

EITC and Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) had signed a deal to set up a joint regional infrastructure platform to deliver connectivity and data centre services.

As part of the ‘One belt, One Road’ initiative, EITC, the parent company of du, is enabling a new ‘Orient Express’ submarine fibre optic cable between Pakistan and the UAE.

As the partnering telecom operator for the landmark project alongside wi-tribe Pakistan LDI (Private) Ltd, a group company of HB International Investments Ltd, EITC will be the UAE landing party for the cable and will provide landing station infrastructure for connectivity of the fibre optic cable system’s UAE presence.

The 1,300km cable system will link between landing points in Karachi and Gwadar in Pakistan and Kalba in the UAE.

The cable will also complement EITC’s expanding datamena and UAE-IX ecosystems and provide connectivity to other cable systems in the region.

datamena, in partnership with world’s largest internet exchange operator Germany’s DE-CIX, has recently launched its first digital infrastructure hubs in Mumbai, India, and Marseille, France, to deliver seamless interconnection between major cloud and content hubs around the world.

datamena has more than 200 partners in its UAE hub.

“We have three data centres in the UAE and looking for more data centres. Today, we have the capacity for the next three years,” Sultan said.