The operations of Etisalat in the UAE have continuously grown, with subscribed mobile users currently exceeding 7 million, while data subscription grows to 31% since 2007. The increase of mobile data provision has enticed the content providers to introduce services that best suit the consumers in different segments. The provision of mobile money transfer has proved to be all the rage conceptually, and partners have shown considerable interest on the new product. In a pilot project that was conducted in UAE, Etisalat and Bank of Dubai facilitated their clients to use their mobile phones for making purchases and transferring money. This technological development is going to alter the consumers’ experiences and interaction with banks’ services in the future. The capacity to use a mobile phone to buy goods and services has become a convenient, easy and secure process. Considering the large number of subscribers within the Etisalat network in UAE, the company has assured industry sections are given a secure platform to expedite and develop mobile commercial strategies. The m-commerce portfolio in Etisalat includes traffic police payment, Zakat payment, Mobile payment services to banks, m-parking service, and credit transfer.
With the network convergence becoming a reality in the current world, Etisalat embraces technology to make simpler its network operations, increase the customer satisfaction and make way for the development and creation of revenue generating services. The GIS solution has tremendously helped Etisalat to optimize its fiber network that enables the company to quicken the rollout services such as Fiber To-The-Home (FTTH) and to streamline the company’s operations applying automated systems. Over the decades, Etisalat has been conducting several in-house operation upgrades and data transfer projects that keep the system in up-to-date with the latest technological development. The highly qualified IT and GIS teams have developed several systems and applications enhancement that cater for the customer requirements (Ganahl, 2007).
The GIS operations in Etisalat began to cater for the needs of (EPCDN) External Planning for Civil Duct Network. The adoption and user acceptance open the door for implementation of GIS for Planning Coaxial and Fiber Cable Network as well as Mobile Network and other projects. In Etisalat, GIS is now a fully operational unit that caters for the requirements of Marketing Surveying, Customer Service, Forecasting, No Objection Certificate Office, Building Inspection, and Region Network Development Planning, Network Transmission for Junction Network and Access Network, and Project Maintenance.
The GIS unit is a system of implementing GIS for Mobile Network Planning, to Management and Decision Makers, as well as GIS client and Web Applications. The company has adapted 3G technology to enhanced unique services to remain tat the top of competition with other telecom companies in the industry. The adoption of 3G alone did not contribute to the increased market share in the Middle East the initiative of video interaction allowed the company to lead in Customer Care services, giving them a competitive advantage in the global market.
Etisalat has been of significant help to IBM and Genesys in helping them to develop and apply an advanced video enhanced Customer Service platform that allowed customers to have a live chat with the Customer Care representatives and enjoy advanced self-service capabilities. The company approached Genesys considering their strong software background, and IBM for the partnership in implementation. The fact that IBM has significant experience in Etisalat market and telecommunication industry has been an immense advantage to the development on Etisalat IT system. Genesys was responsible for developing sophisticated Contact Centre Management software, which incorporates the IVVR (interactive visual voice response) solution that provides live chat conferencing and live chat customer care services capabilities. IBM has been a provider for the highly experienced on-site operation team, which works with Etisalat and Genesys to design, plan, and to integrate the solutions with Etisalat operations. The IBM n-site team is also responsible for providing essential technical information transfer that enables Etisalat to operate and sustain the system for effective and competitive services to its customers. The purpose was to combine effort of the Genesys and IBM team as a principle factor for the IT development of Etisalat. The both companies had a previous partnership record, where they had worked together on a similar project this prior information enabled Etisalat to bring them on board with a significant ease. The partners offered complementary experience and skills that gave Etisalat advantage over its competitors in the telecommunication industry in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. This was evident in Egypt, where IBM had the best team (Karake-Shalhoub, 2006).
The Etisalat initial success is an indication of the effectiveness of their customer care services. With the introduction of 3G, the company registered approximately one million new subscribers within the first 60 days, and has over ten million new subscribers now; this has increased the company’s market share by 15%. The partnership with IBM has enabled the company to improve skill management and queue traffic, as well as enabled the company to improve its efficiency. In the telecommunication industry, Etisalat is setting the global benchmarks in terms of customized response to the customers, decreasing hold times, improving first contact resolution, and so on. With IBM and Genesys on board, Etisalat has been able to reduce repeat callers by 33%, while holding times has declined by about 20 %. The development from partnership has steered the business forward, and developed advance skills that will over see the maintenance of the development.