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Wed 15 Oct 2008 04:00 AM

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Gearing up for Gulfcomms

Major industry players are optimistic about the potential of Gulfcomms to generate new business.

The UAE is one of the leading countries in the Middle East when it comes to business and consumer spending on ICT, according to a recent report from Global Insight.

According to the US-based financial analysts, the UAE is currently spending some US$11.4 billion on information & communication technology, and that figure is set to rise to US$14.8 billion by 2011.

The largest area of spending in the UAE ICT market, according to the research, is within the consumer sector, with US$5.3 billion currently being spent; a figure that is set to rise to US$6.8 billion in the next three years. The UAE is also currently spending nearly US$1 billion on ICT in the communications, energy and utilities, and government sectors, with each rising to US$ 1.2 billion by 2011.

According to research and consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton, the current revenue for the telecommunications and broadband internet sectors in the MENA region exceeds US$50 billion, and is set to grow to US$70 billion by the year 2015.

Amid this level of growth, Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai World Trade Centre, is optimistic that this year's Gulfcomms exhibition will be a record-breaking event in terms of exhibitor and attendee numbers.

Key players from the region's communications sector are ready to converge at Gulfcomms, which is the region's largest international telecoms forum for the mobile, fixed, IP and satellite sector, and takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre from October 19-23. Companies including Aastra Middle East, Alcatel, BlackBerry, Du, Etisalat, NEC Philips, Orange Business Services, Nortel Networks and Thuraya will showcase a range of their latest products and services at the event.

Gulfcomms 2008 is also set to attract a significant number of visitors and exhibitors from emerging markets including China, India and Pakistan.

"The number of international companies set to exhibit at this year's event is hugely exciting. It demonstrates the intense interest in the regional market," Almarri said.

"Gulfcomms always proves a very popular segment of GITEX Technology Week, by providing a focused platform for the communication market across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Population growth and deregulation will see the MENA region take over from America and Europe in the next five years, and much of the new business will be generated during Gitex Technology Week."

Dubai World Trade Centre has also expanded the number of events at the GITEX Technology Week Global Conference. ICT experts including Ahmad Alumulla, CIO at Abu Dhabi based Dubal, and Tariq Y. Elsadik, CIO at Abu Dhabi based business group Al Fahim, will be speaking at the event, iThis year's programme features 35 sessions in total and is supported by Platinum Sponsor, Etisalat and Session Sponsor, Microsoft.

Among the areas of discussion in the Gulfcomms track of the sessions are WiMAX, convergence and operations optimisation.

H.E. Mohamed N. Al Ghanim, TRA board member and director general, added that the event provides a strong platform for the organization to help develop the sector. "The telecoms industry is a booming market right now, with many global companies signing deals to expand into the Middle East and North Africa region.

"GITEX Technology Week...fits with our goal to further develop the sector, enhance building bridges of cooperation and encourage the worlds most advanced technologies to the UAE."

Mr. Moammar Da'as, marketing manager at Datastar International Ltd, a wireless communications service provider from Saudi Arabia said: "The East is becoming the new hunting ground for international telecoms companies who realise the massive opportunity for growth.

"GITEX Technology Week brings many of the leading players together at Gulfcomms, and provides the ideal environment to build relationships," he added.

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