RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Etihad Etisalat (Mobily) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) have announced a 5-year agreement worth approximately $280 million to provide comprehensive IT solutions for the Saudi Arabian company.
As the fastest growing telecommunications company in Saudi Arabia, Mobily has experienced an explosion in demand from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices, and needed to boost its IT capacity and innovation in the market.
The agreement with IBM will provide Mobily with faster, targeted access to new technologies and expertise in order to build a strong infrastructure to keep pace with the company's business growth. As it gears up for further expansion, Mobily wanted to improve the quality and speed of its operations using IBM best practices, ensuring overall flexibility and scalability.
As part of the agreement, Mobily and IBM will collaborate on future innovation with the help of IBM Research, for example, using IBM's Spoken Web solution. The basic principle of Spoken Web uses speech to create voice sites using the mobile phone network to establish a spoken version of the internet. The opportunity to collaborate with leading IBM researchers has become a key differentiator for IBM.
The agreement highlights IBM's continued geographic expansion initiative to strategically increase its presence in key growth markets like Saudi Arabia in support of its global growth strategy. IBM is ramping up its investment across the Middle East and Africa, harnessing the company's Smarter Planet initiative to help both public and private sector clients do more with fewer resources.
The strategic management of IT remains with Mobily, ensuring continuation of its standards of excellence and cutting-edge architecture, and enabling Mobily to meet the explosion in demand it is seeing from the growing number of subscribers using mobile devices.
"Partnering with one of the largest technology companies in the world offers Mobily a broad portfolio of modern IT solutions that will have a positive impact on our customers in terms of the quality of products and innovative services, in addition to solutions that will enrich their lives. We are pleased to sign with IBM, which has a significant presence in this strategic sector," said Khalid Al Kaf, CEO, Mobily. "The agreement is part of our efforts and vision of transforming Mobily into an integrated telecommunications operator. It also supports the Saudi government's initiative of creating a knowledge-based community, adopting state of the art services and solutions" Al Kaf added.
The IBM and Mobily relationship is a long standing one, and IBM has implemented several other IT projects for the telecommunications company in recent years.
"Mobile computing is driving increasing demand for IT services in the telecommunications industry," said Takreem El Tohamy, General Manager, IBM Middle East and Africa. "With this agreement, IBM provides Mobily with the robust IT infrastructure and near term innovation to remain a leader in providing their customers with the best technology has to offer."
IBM is involved in a range of key initiatives in Saudi Arabia, including a joint project with King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology using innovative membrane technology and solar power to address the shortage of drinking water. In another project, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and IBM are collaborating using the most complex, high performance computing system in the region.
The agreement with Mobily was signed in August, 2012.
About IBM: For more information about IBM, please visit: www.ibm.com
About Mobily: Mobily, the brand name of Etihad Etisalat, took its first step in becoming the Kingdom's monopoly breaking mobile operator when it won a tender against five other competing consortiums in the summer of 2004. Today, Etisalat of the United Arab Emirates holds 27.4% of Mobily's shares, and 11.2% is in the hands of the General Organization for Social Security.
After almost six months of technical and commercial preparations, Mobily launched commercial services to the public on May 25, 2005, and in less than 90 days, the company announced it had passed the one million subscriber-base mark. By the end of the first quarter of 2006, GSM World Association described Mobily as the fastest growing mobile operator in the Middle East and North Africa region, and since then, Mobily enjoys the highest number of advanced mobile broadband subscribers on its network, the largest network in the region.
Since its founding, Mobily obtained massive amounts of funding. After Etihad Etisalat has won the license, Mobily received a capital of 8.8125 billion Saudi Riyals (2.35 billion dollars) from the largest syndicated Islamic loan known to the world until this day. In September of 2007, Mobily announced that it had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth SAR 1.5 billion (US$400 million) to buy Bayanat Al Oula – one of two licensed data communication operators. By the second quarter of 2008, the Communications and Information Technology Commission had approved the deal. Following that, in November 2008, Mobily acquired absolute majority stakes in Zajil, the leading Saudi ISP (Internet Service Provider) in an 80 million Riyals deal.
The move followed Mobily's aggressive thrust into fixed-mobile convergence, and into the mobile broadband provision market, when Mobily became the first operator in MENA to commercially launch the 4G (TD-LTE) services. Mobily today owns a large broadband subscriber-base exceeding 8.7 million subscriber, whereas the total volume of data transmission within its network reached more than 300 terabytes /day
Etihad Etisalat "Mobily"
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