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Brand Spotlight: Etisalat

David Graham
26 January 2021

With people relying on virtual communications as never before, connectivity has proven essential following the global travel restrictions resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. Etisalat became the strongest brand in the Middle East, according to our latest study, so we asked how the company managed to connect with their customers despite the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19.

How has Etisalat differentiated itself in the wake of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of technology?

COVID-19 presented unprecedented challenges for the UAE and Etisalat, but at a time of isolation, connectivity was never more important, and it provided the carrier the chance to support customers in multiple ways and to build an emotional connection.

In general, Etisalat’s technology and connectivity have played a key role during today’s challenges by keeping society connected and building a digital future for everyone. Telecom networks became a lifeline during the pandemic, and Etisalat took an added responsibility to foresee the future, backed by years of network and infrastructural investments and therefore solid readiness to handle the pandemic. Etisalat has been recognised by Ookla Speedtest as “The Fastest Mobile Network Operator” in the world, a significant achievement and one of particular relevance as the pandemic highlighted the importance of having a robust and up-to-date network.

Etisalat stayed responsive and agile in its operations to handle the exponential network demand - connecting millions of consumers as well as businesses of all sizes, thus building a resilient, digital society with its rapid, comprehensive, and coordinated response. In doing so, it supported both the government and the private sector alike during this period of uncertainty and change.

Etisalat - Concept Store Dubai Mall
Etisalat - Concept Store Dubai Mall

In the UAE, Etisalat supported the government initiative to stay at home to fight and control the virus spread across the country. It launched the ‘Stay at Home’ campaign and even changed its network name displayed on handsets to ‘Stay at Home’ in solidarity. It developed initiatives to enable over 1 million students in the country to benefit from free access to distance learning websites and platforms.

Free mobile data was made available, in coordination with the Ministry of Education and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority to over 12,000 students whose families did not have internet at home to support and enable distanced learning. Dedicated support was also extended to the local authorities to maintain security and safety. For example, free access was given to Dubai Police websites and apps to facilitate the reach of the public in accessing online services.

The healthcare sector was the most overburdened but required maximum assistance for the front-line workers addressing the treatment and diagnosis of COVID-19 patients. Etisalat assisted by allocating extra network resources and services to the health sector and providing connectivity to quarantined and other critical areas.

Etisalat managed the exponential increase in data traffic through strengthened network capacity to enable all customers the best possible experience while they, learn, work, and get entertained from home.

A massive change in network usage patterns emerged overnight due to the pandemic, however the proactive strategic focus from Etisalat had a significant movement towards them becoming a digital enabler instead of simple telco carrier operator.

This has ensured the brand remained relevant as a business in the minds of its customers across all segments. During 2020, Etisalat truly delivered on its motto and ethos of ‘Together Matters’. The brand looks forward to 2021 as the fastest network in the world, and it is perfectly placed to help enable the showcase the UAE at Expo 2021 in the year the nation celebrates its 50th anniversary.

About the Author

David Graham
CTO
Brand Finance

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