Etisalat, France Telecom in co-operation deal
Dubai, July 2, 2008
Etisalat and France Telecom on Wednesday signed a deal and agreed to collaborate in a number of fields of strategic importance for the telecommunications industry notably in home services, contents, as well as international network.
Mohammad Omran, chairman of Etisalat and Didier Lombard, chairman and CEO of France Telecom signed the MoU in Paris.
“We are very pleased at signing this partnership with France Telecom. Both Europe and the Middle East are a nerve centre for technology innovation in the telecom space and characterised by a very demanding customer base,' said Hassan Omran after the signing ceremony.
'This agreement with France Telecom will leverage the technological expertise and deep customer insight of both companies to offer the latest services to customers in a converged IP environment across the markets we operate in.”
The partnership focuses on home networking solutions and multiplay services; content acquisition and distribution; international roaming and also joint investments in submarine cables.
Etisalat and France Telecom have as well agreed to put in place preferred international roaming within each operator’s footprint with the objective to optimise international coverage for their customers, optimise voice and data roaming traffic, improve quality of service and enable innovative services.
In the area of Home networking solutions and multiple-play services, the concept of “Orange Livebox” (home gateway) and “Orange TV” (IPTV offer via set-up-box) rolled out by France Telecom to over 6.8 million customers in Europe will be of interest for Etisalat as it pursues its FTTH (Fibre To The Home) deployment in the UAE.
France Telecom, Sagem and Thomson jointly launched SoftAtHome to define standards for triple - play offerings.
Etisalat also plans to use SoftAtHome solutions to launch multiple-play offers in their markets.
Etisalat also has plans to become a shareholder of SoftAtHome to get an ability to shape future home networking technology developments, said an Etisalat official.
From a content acquisition and distribution perspective, Etisalat and France Telecom are currently evaluating the opportunity to acquire, aggregate and/or market specific contents to be distributed on their respective footprints.
In particular, France Telecom and Etisalat will work together so that Etisalat can distribute the multi-player online game Warhammer, which is to be released by fall 2008.
Etisalat and Studio 37, France Telecom’s subsidiary dedicated to investing in films, also intend to invest jointly in co-production of movies and audiovisual programs, said a Etislalt official.
With significant capacity available in existing submarine and terrestrial cables, Etisalat and France Telecom will also pursue possible joint investments in building capacity to serve areas of strategic interest to both parties such as Western Africa where they both operate including having a better link between Middle East and Europe across the Mediterranean sea, he said.
Didier Lombard, chairman and CEO, France Telecom, said, ' We are delighted that Etisalat and France Telecom are becoming partners in a number of fields of strategic importance for our industry.'
'Both companies believe in the convergence of telecommunications services and access to content as a key enabler for business in mature and emerging markets.'
'This relationship will help us to build on the success that we have had developing Orange into a leader across communications and content. I am particularly pleased that Etisalat intends to become a shareholder in SoftAtHome, and that we will jointly invest with Studio 37 to produce content,' he added.-TradeArabia News Service