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OTT Providers define the future of the communications landscape

Last week’s Middle East Telco World Summit in Dubai was a vibrant affair with over 1,500 executives drawn from the entire Middle Eastern telecoms industry in attendance.

Reflecting the changing landscape of the telecoms industry, the keynote panel discussion questioned “How are over-the-top-television (OTT) Providers Disrupting the Operator Business Model?”. CEOs and Vice Presidents from operators and OTT providers debated the next step in competition or collaboration to maximise the potential of OTT service provision for all parties.

A packed conference room heard the views of Google’s Vice President Emerging Markets , Mohammad Gawdat, Ahmed Nassef, VP and Managing Director Middle East Yahoo!, Osman Sultan, CEO, du, Nawras’ CEO Ross Cormack, Khalifa Al-Fora SVP Technology and Network Strategy, Etisalat, Medhat Amer, CIO Mobily , Andrew Hanna, CCO VIVA Bahrain, Jigar Budhdev, General Manager MENA, Nimbuzz and Areeba Areeba’s CEO Ayman Irshaid.

Delegates were also invited to hear the launch of a report by the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, given by Cherie Blair herself. With the growth of the mobile tech industry comes opportunity. It makes social & economic sense to include women and the report, prepared by the Foundation in collaboration with STC, provides an in-depth study on the opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the mobile industry report provided an in-depth study of the opportunities available.

The second day focus on LTE highlighted the region’s recent commercial launches. Case studies from Etisalat, du and STC demonstrated the reality of LTE, the impact on the consumer experience and the challenges and opportunities that remain for the operator.

The country focus sessions enabled delegates to gain a deeper understanding of the highlighted markets. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt and Pakistan/Afghanistan were examined in detail with keynote presentations and panel discussions drawing out the successes and opportunities in each market.

The summit concluded, as it opened, with a panel discussion on OTT – this debate asking, “Should OTT Players Pay for their Data?” With representation from the vendor, operator and OTT communities the lively discussion was a fitting end to a conference that demonstrated the need for operators to adapt to the changing communications world.

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