Category: Dubai


Etisalat, du to jointly provide services to MBHRE-built communities in Dubai


Dubai: Etisalat and du have partnered to provide telecom infrastructure for Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment’s (MBRHE) housing communities. Under the agreement, du and Etisalat will install, maintain, and oversee fixed telecom services for communities in Oud Al Muteena, Hatta, Al Warqa 4, and Muhaisnah.

The deal aims to create high-end residential communities offering comprehensive telecom services. It also allows UAE citizens in Dubai to choose the telecom operator of their choice without experiencing any disruption while moving into their new home.

Saeed Alzarouni, Senior Vice-President, Mobile Network, Etisalat said, “Taawun infrastructure deployment is an initiative we are deeply invested in at Etisalat, as it aligns closely with our commitment to support the government’s vision and the development of smart technologies and enable digital transformation across UAE.”

“With smart infrastructure development becoming an increasing priority at the national level, we are proud to lend our support and expertise to ensure master-developers reap the rewards of a telecom sector that meets every demand through world-class infrastructure and resources,” said Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief Technology Officer, du. “Now more than ever, residential communities require comprehensive telco services, with seamless capabilities and without disruption. This is what we will deliver through this collaboration.”



Watch: Flydubai CEO says Dubai’s early reopening was key to aviation sector recovery


NAT 210712 Ghaith Al Ghaith CE002-1626171289960
Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, speaks at the World Sustainable Business Forum 2021 in Dubai on Monday.
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: UAE took decisions “ahead of time” to help the recovery of the aviation industry, said Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of budget carrier flydubai.

The airline chief was speaking at the World Sustainable Business Forum on Monday, a closed-door event organised by Gulf News and IFIICC, which brought together government officials, overseas dignitaries, and senior business leaders.

UAE was “quick to react” and enacted a plan that allowed flydubai to focus on cargo and repatriation at the start of the pandemic last year, said Al Ghaith. “The most important and most difficult part of it is creating a safe and hygienic network and operating environments for your own people, and for the customers”

Dubai’s reopening

Dubai was allowing travellers into the emirate as early as July last year and this allowed airlines to recover their networks and boost passenger numbers to some extent. “We tried to adjust our schedule to ensure that we put as many flights as possible (on routes) where there is actual demand,” said Al Ghaith. “As recent as before the summer, we were already at 65 per cent of pre-COVID numbers in terms of operation, which is incredible.”

Working with government

While the crisis has created frictions between airlines and governments around the world, UAE has seen a more collaborative approach. “We in the UAE are involved in the decision making when it comes to the rules set up to respond to the current pandemic,” said Al Ghaith. “If they (UAE government) wanted to come out with a new protocol, they will consult with the airline and the airport, in order for us to come up with something that will be practical and achievable.”

Al Ghaith also emphasised on the importance of having a global framework for travel. “We want all the countries to open up, so that there is one protocol to travel,” said the airline head. “For example, we needed a vaccine vaccination passport from day one… nobody was thinking (about the) bigger picture, and how we can make things more effective.”



France fines Google 500 million euros over copyright row


Stock Google

Image Credit: AP

Paris: France’s antitrust watchdog slapped a 500 million euro ($593 million) fine on Alphabet’s Google on Tuesday for failing to comply with the regulator’s orders on how to conduct talks with the country’s news publishers in a row over copyright.

The fine comes amid increasing international pressure on online platforms such as Google and Facebook to share more revenue with news outlets.

The US tech group must now come up with proposals within the next two months on how it would compensate news agencies and other publishers for the use of their news. If it does not do that, the company would face additional fines of up to 900,000 euros per day.

Google said it was very disappointed with the decision but would comply.

“Our objective remains the same: we want to turn the page with a definitive agreement. We will take the French Competition Authority’s feedback into consideration and adapt our offers,” the US tech giant said.

A Google spokesperson added: “We have acted in good faith throughout the entire process. The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement, and the reality of how news works on our platforms.” News publishers APIG, SEPM and AFP accuse the tech company of having failed to hold talks in good faith with them to find common ground for the remuneration of news content online, under a recent European Union directive that creates so-called “neighbouring rights”.

The case itself focused on whether Google breached temporary orders issued by the antitrust authority, which demanded such talks take place within three months with any news publishers that ask for them.

“When the authority decrees an obligation for a company, it must comply scrupulously, both in the spirit and letter (of the decision). Here, this was unfortunately not the case,” the antitrust body’s chief, Isabelle de Silva, said in a statement.

She also said the regulator considered that Google had not acted in good faith in its negotiations with the publishers.

APIG, which represents most major French print news publishers including Le Figaro and Le Monde, remains one of the plaintiffs, even though it signed a framework agreement with Google earlier this year, sources have told Reuters. This framework deal has been put on hold pending the antitrust decision, the sources said.

The framework agreement, which many other French media outlets criticised, was one of the highest-profile deals under Google’s “News Showcase” programme to provide compensation for news snippets used in search results, and the first of its kind in Europe.

Google agreed to pay $76 million over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers to end the copyright row, documents seen by Reuters showed.

It followed months of bargaining between Google, French publishers and news agencies over how to apply the revamped EU copyright rules, which allow publishers to demand a fee from online platforms showing extracts of their news.



Infographic: Cuba’s economic crisis | Business – Gulf News


Thousands of Cubans joined street protests in one of the largest anti-government demonstrations on the Communist-run island in memory, with many calling for an end to communism and chanting “Freedom,” “Enough,” and “Unite.”

Continuing US sanctions tightened under former US President Donald Trump, and the pandemic has exacerbated shortages of food and medicine, as well as power outages.

Hospitals and pharmacies are running out of medicines as fundamental as aspirin and penicillin. Cubans lucky enough to have foreign currency wait for hours for staples like beans and rice.

Infographics: Cuba’s economic crisis

Image Credit: Seyyed Llate/Gulf News | Graphic News



UAE consumers are ready to go for ‘super-apps’ – if they come with more bang for the buck


The power of the super-app is starting to get noticed by UAE and Gulf consumers.
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Apps are no longer a novelty – UAE consumers spend an average of seven hours and 49 minutes online a day.

According to a report by Google and Bain & Company, consumers in the MENA region are among the most connected in the world. Forty-eight per cent of UAE and Saudi consumers get their shopping ideas and inspirations online; and almost 56 per cent of consumers in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt start their online shopping journeys using search engines as opposed to retailers’ websites.

But a key challenge has arisen as a result – fractured experiences and an overload of information, which has led to the rise of the ‘super-app’.

Super-apps are a one-stop platform that bring together different services into a single experience. These could be developed in-house or in partnership with third-party providers. But they have one goal – to streamline the process for the consumer and give a much better experience overall.

Super-apps are changing the way consumers interact with the world around them, as well as what they have come to expect from brands. As a result, their rise is driving digital disruption and forcing industries to rethink their digital strategies.

All about partnerships

Asia has been a witness to the rise of super-apps, with players like WeChat and Grab trying to take advantage of the ecommerce sector’s predicted value of $50 billion in the next five years. Super-apps allow businesses to form strategic partnerships offering complementing services and a combined experience that caters to consumer’s needs without having to leave the app. Ultimately, this allows super-apps and their owners to become more competitive and gain an advantage over larger players in traditional markets.

Increased brand loyalty

Only requiring a single registration, using one set of sign-in credentials, the ease of use means a much higher return rate for consumers than when they are using a single-service individual app. This experience trickles to the brands within the super-app and increases consumer brand loyalty.

Better data collection

Aside from having a multitude of services, what makes super-apps highly beneficial is their ability to personalise offerings according to user preferences, and this stems from the ability to collect that data. For example, data on what the customer orders and how frequently can be used to curate available deals based on order history or preferred payment method. For businesses, this information enables more partnerships and flexibility to offer additional services, thus improving customer engagement.

More effective marketing

Credit cards, loyalty and discount platforms offer promotions across different apps and sites, but makes for a tedious shopping experience and results in customer fatigue. But super-apps consolidate those offers for different card brands and networks onto one platform, personalising the experience and letting users easily find the best deals available specifically to them, saving them money and time in the process.

Convenience and flexibility will win consumers over every time, particularly when combined with savings. The ability to keep all transactions on one platform means super-apps will become the norm. Taking away the need to manage usernames and passwords, as well as the learning curve associated with different apps.

As more consumers move into the super-app ecosystem, the more they add value by bringing convenience and personalisation. This may be a digital disruption for some – but a needed innovation for consumers.



UAE’s Federal Tax Authority cracks down on retailer violations, finds Dh71.48m in sums owed in Q2-2021


Dubai: The UAE’s Federal Tax Authority recorded 655 tax violations amounting to Dh71.48 million in the second quarter. This was done after inspection checks of the local markets in tandem with the Ministry of Economy (MoE), Federal Customs Authority and other authorities.

The field inspections detected 2.86 million unregistered tobacco products that didn’t bear the Digital Tax Stamp, in addition to 202,000 other excise goods, including carbonated beverages, energy drinks, and sweetened drinks.

The inspections were done to ensure compliance with tax procedures, as well as protect consumers from trafficked products that do not meet quality specifications approved within the UAE. “The FTA is keen to implement the best global practices regarding the application of tax legislation and procedures,” said Khalid Ali Al-Bustani, FTA’s Director-General. These have “clearly defined mutual obligations between the Authority and taxpayers, through accurate control mechanisms that provide the highest standards of governance and transparency.”