BT t o partner with du

BT t o partner with du

 

BT t o partner with du

BY JAMILA QADIR

5 June 2006

DUBAI — British Telecommunications (BT), which has recently partnered with Etisalat for the Node project, is also planning to help the new telecoms operator du with international reach and certain niche services in the local market.

Brian Armstrong, BT vice-president, Middle East & Africa, told Khaleej Times yesterday that the Node project, which connects the local service provider network and access network to BT’s global infrastructure, was commissioned earlier this year.

BT, which will provide this service in some 13 countries across the Mena region, including the AGCC, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and others, is having a local telecoms partner in each country, he explained.

“We have had earlier and still have ongoing discussions with du. We can provide them with international capabilities and help them get particular sectors in the market in Dubai,” he said.

Armstrong said BT would cooperate both with Etisalat and du in the future, but made it clear that the company would respect the local regulations regarding the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

He said: “It is matter of time for VoIP application to be allowed in this market, whether it will take one year or 10 years, it will come eventually. Voice is another application running on data network in corporate sector.

Eventually, convergence will come for consumers. New technologies are catalysts for such applications. As world becomes more wireless, there will be more commercial and political pressure to adopt it.

But if it doesn’t happen, Dubai will be lagging the world on that. I’m expecting to see evolution in Dubai in a few years’ time. We hope sooner rather than later. Already Bahrain, which always been the most liberal country in the Gulf, is opening up.”

He said BT, which has been operating in the UAE since 1985, has recently opened its headquarters in Dubai to cater to the whole Mena region. “The Mena region is very important and attractive market for us.

“We have some 300 of our global customers here and hope to increase this number by 50 per cent in the coming years,” he said.

He said that BT was also part of a consortium to $200 million Eassy project (East African sub-sea cable system), which will link Africa to the Middle East.

Armstrong, who ruled out any possibility for BT to cover Iran as part of any of the above-mentioned projects, said, however, that BT was delivering services to Iran, but existing restrictions made it difficult to do business there.

He also said that BT would not do any business in Iraq for the time being due to uncertainty of the market there.

“We do not have any staff there and we are not going to have anything there at the moment,” he added.

 

 

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