Stock - e&
The widening of the partnership with Microsoft is e&'s first major tech deal since its transition from Etisalat. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE telco e& (formerly Etisalat) has expanded its strategic partnership with Microsoft, which will help the former go “beyond the realms of traditional telecommunications”.

The expanded partnership will see e&’s 5G networks integrated with Microsoft’s suite of A.I., cloud and data services. This will address a “regional market hungry for digital transformation,’ said Hatem Dowidar, CEO, e&. “We are confident that this collaboration will continue to support the ever-growing demands of this market and our digital journey of transformation and innovation.

“This also supports our ambition to become a world-class technology provider that supports regional innovators as they disrupt, make a difference and build the future.”

Executives met at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond to seal the partnership, which included Hatem Dowidar, CEO of e&; Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft; Sayed Hashish, General Manager of Microsoft UAE; and Masood M Sharif Mahmood, CEO, Etisalat UAE.

e&'s Hatem Dowidar (left) and Microsoft's Satya Nadella.

It will have e& tap the Microsoft Cloud and partner ecosystem to "create new solutions, accelerate value creation for businesses of all sizes, as well as engage customers and empower e&’s employees". The scope of the deal also focusses on:

- Business-to-business engagement across large enterprises, governments and SMEs by helping them in their digital transformation journey.

- Re-invention of the consumer experience, with a focus on empowering consumers, broadening, and enriching the e& services portfolio.

- Setting the foundations for ‘e&’s transformation journey by modernising networks and platforms, building ecosystems and transforming the e& culture to attract top talent’.

Build on existing Microsoft alliance
In 2019, Microsoft launched its UAE data centres in collaboration with e&.

During the peak of the pandemic in 2020, Etisalat UAE, the telecom arm of e& in the UAE, collaborated with Microsoft to enable Microsoft Teams availability across the UAE.

Later, e& launched its first customer service powered on Microsoft Azure, enabling SMBs to scale their operations.

Last year, it partnered with Microsoft for 5G and Edge to lay the foundations for next-generation use cases.

In 2021, e& enterprise was named 'Microsoft Country Partner of the Year for the UAE' in recognition for providing "outstanding solutions and services to customers in strategic industries such as government, healthcare, and financial services".

e& enterprise was also instrumental in "accelerating customer journeys" on remote working during the pandemic by offering Teams Direct Routing as a service, to help save costs and enable business continuity for multinationals.