GUEST POST: Capacity Middle East 2011 – Preview: Cooperation, Connectivity and Competition
Instability in some parts of the Middle East is not slowing the regions hunger for connectivity and the rapid growth of its telecoms sector._ _
On February 28th the telecoms carrier community will again meet in Dubai at Capacity Middle East to discuss drivers for growth and how telecoms is shaping regional development.
At last year’s event carriers took turns making the case for why their operating areas deserved to be the hub for the region. These carriers have been challenged to provide operating environments that are business friendly and open to deeper levels of cooperation, connectivity and competition.
Abdulhameed Alhamad, General Manager, Wholesale Marketing at STC, Raghu Venkataraman, Chief Strategy & Investments Officer at du and Etisalat’s EVP, Carrier & Wholesale Services Ali Amiri will be speaking on this year’s keynote panel and giving their take on how strategic investments in the region can help to capture market share. There will be an emphasis on greater interregional connectivity as well as how deeper infrastructure investment can shape the future of the market.
Undersea cable operator Gulf Bridge International (GBI) along with Tata Communications are increasing interregional connectivity with new undersea cable systems in the Persian Gulf while it has been reported that Etisalat and du have begun testing a shared network in the UAE ahead of a national rollout later this year. These kinds of developments are expected to bring prices down in both the retail and wholesale space and continue to drive growth in Middle East telecoms.
As competition emerges as a priority, instability in some parts of the Middle East has highlighted the role that connectivity is playing in the region. This instability will certainly be a topic of discussion as instability does not lend itself to the creation of telco hubs but is an interesting topic as a component of political and economic change.
What will be interesting to see at this year’s Capacity Middle East is how operators and regulators discuss the role of the internet in this instability and how affects their businesses. The impact of limiting internet services as a perceived means of calming unrest is a topic that operators from within the region and beyond are sure to have an opinion on.
The Middle East’s strategic location between Asia, Africa and Europe makes it an ideal meeting point for carriers and this year’s conference will have more than 700 attendees and has expanded in format to include an additional day of panel sessions and networking. As with each year, Capacity Middle East continues to grow up alongside one of the most dynamic telecoms markets in the world.