Etisalat launches ‘content ecosystem’

05 October 2011 | Guy Matthews

UAE-based carrier Etisalat has launched Smart Hub, which it said will provide a ‘content ecosystem’ for the benefit of the company’s regional base of network operator and content developer customers.

It claimed Smart Hub will allow all parties with an interest in the market to have access to key technologies and services to allow for more effective distribution of content, while facilitating partnership between operators and content providers as they address the needs of regional consumers.

Ali Amiri, executive vice president of Etisalat’s Carrier and Wholesale services division, said that Smart Hub is part of the company’s plan to help wholesale customers move away from reliance on traditional telecoms revenue sources: “We are fast approaching the inflection point where the investment required in infrastructure needs to be supported from other revenue streams,” he said. “A new commercial framework is now required. Our Rich Communications Ecosystem strategy is geared to become the industry’s optimum solution.”

He said the hub allows Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), Content Management Systems (CMSs), Conditional Access Providers (CAPs) as well as telcos to partner with Etisalat so that they can reach out to potential customers on a variety of devices. He explained that the solution also provides access to billing systems and customer care services, removing the need for companies to invest in developing their own content distribution systems.

“We started our journey towards a digital media ecosystem in 2008, building on experience gained from providing TV services through E-Vision,” he added. “We have since secured significant customers and have developed experience that we can share with all partners servicing the region.”

Meanwhile Qatari telco Qtel said it is to start work immediately on building an LTE network for the country, despite saying recently that it intended to wait until the technology had matured. Its LTE project will cost $54.92m, and will see QTel deploy 900 base stations and offer download speeds of 150Mbps.

It is likely that QTel has brought forward its plans for 4G market entry following the well-publicised and near-simultaneous launch of LTE services in Saudi Arabia by three operators - Etisalat, Mobily and Zain Saudi - the first such services in the Persian Gulf.