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[March 23, 2014]
Du offers flexible data roaming packs for businesses [Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)]
(Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dubai: Telecom operator du is aiming for a bigger share of the business customers in the UAE by offering flexible data roaming packs.
"Data roaming is becoming a very important service throughout the world and the roaming charges are the main issue of business customers," said Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Commercial Officer at du.
Quoting a report, he said that mobile data roaming has grown up to 900 petabytes, (equivalent to a storage capacity of 235 million full HD movies), last year and is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 70 per cent until 2017 in the UAE, he said. Europe saw 600 per cent growth in the last year.
Du experienced a 200 per cent growth in data roaming last year. The telco operator has 80,000 business customers in the UAE.
"Mobile data will continue to remain a cash cow for operators in the UAE in 2014, contributing nearly 40 per cent to mobile services revenues," said Paul Black, director of telecommunications and media at IDC.
Mobile revenue for du for the full year reached Dh8.37 billion, a 9.6 per cent increase year-on-year while mobile data revenues increased by 33.8 per cent, from Dh1.77 billion in 2012 to Dh2.36 billion, with data now representing 27.7 per cent of mobile service revenues, up from 22.6 per cent in 2012.
Data-hungry applications However, the growing popularity of data-hungry applications and services, particularly video, will contribute to an exponential increase in data traffic and make network investment economics difficult to justify.
The exponential increase in mobile data will force operators to rethink their network and data sources strategies.
Black said mobile voice has been getting increasingly commoditised for some years. This trend resulted in bringing mobile data services related strategies to the fore in the operator's business models.
Hany Aly, executive vice-president, enterprise business at du, said that one out of two business customers in the UAE have a smartphone data package. Out of this, 65 per cent are roaming.
Email and social apps are the most frequently used applications while roaming, Aly said.
The total active mobile subscribers in the UAE in the fourth quarter stood at 17.64 million, registering a growth of 16.13 per cent compared to 15.19 million in the third quarter. Du had a mobile customer base to 7.24 million in the fourth quarter.
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