5G services in the UAE announced at Arab Media Forum

UAE telecom providers Etisalat and Du are ready for the 5G network. (File/AFP)
Updated 29 March 2019
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5G services in the UAE announced at Arab Media Forum

  • The 5G network offers faster speeds and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices
  • An Etisalat official said 5G services will be launched by June

DUBAI: Mobile internet usage for UAE consumers will soon be improved, as local telecom provider Etisalat gears for summer roll-out of 5G enabled smartphones.

“We are expecting new 5G-enabled devices by June. That’s when consumers will get to experience the real 5G. We have already fully deployed the network,” Khalifa Al Shamsi, Group Chief Corporate Strategy and Governance Officer at Etisalat, announced at the Arab Media Forum held at the World Trade Center on March 27-28.

Earlier reports said that although both Etisalat and its rival Du are ready to introduce 5G services to its customers, smartphone vendors have yet to release 5G-enabled devices.  

The 5G network, which offers faster speeds and more reliable connections on smartphones and other devices, will especially be beneficial to media organizations, according to Al Shamsi, as they pursue more innovative ways of reporting.

“Let’s just look at new technology like augmented or virtual reality. It is just a matter of time before news content is customized with these technologies. In the past, the hologram was just science fiction. Now it is for real and is being tested,” he said.


Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

Updated 18 July 2019
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Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

  • India is among the last big growth markets for the company
  • Netflix faces competition from Amazon’s Prime Video and Walt Disney Co’s Hotstar
Netflix said on Wednesday it would roll out a lower-priced mobile-only plan in India within the next three months to tap into a price-sensitive market at a time the streaming company is losing customers in its home turf.
India is among the last big growth markets for the company, where it faces competition from Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney Co’s India unit.
Netflix lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, when it posted quarterly results. It also missed targets for new subscribers overseas.
“India is a mobile-first nation, where many first-time users are experiencing the Internet on their phones. In such a scenario, a mobile-only package makes sense to target new users,” said Tarun Pathak, analyst at Counterpoint Research.
The creator of “Stranger Things” and “The Crown” said in March that it was testing a 250-rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, where data plans are among the cheapest in the world.
The country figures prominently in Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings’ global expansion plans.
“We believe this plan, which will launch in the third quarter, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business,” the company said in a letter to investors released late on Wednesday.
Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, priced between 500 rupees ($7.27) and 800 rupees $11.63).
It has created a niche following in the country by launching local original shows like the thriller “Sacred Games” and dystopian tale “Leila,” which feature popular Bollywood actors.
The second season of “Sacred Games” is set to release in August.
In contrast, Hotstar, which also offers content from AT&T Inc’s HBO and also streams live sports, charges 299 rupees ($4.35) per month. Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership.
“We’ve been seeing nice steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on. Growth in that country is a marathon, so we’re in it for the long haul,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said.