How e&’s ambitious push for digital innovation is paying off

e& Group CEO Hatem Dowidar
e& Group CEO Hatem Dowidar
Global technology pioneer e& continues to transform with an ambitious push towards AI-powered solutions, sustainable mobility and digital inclusion

Championing innovation is nothing new for e&.

The former telco turned mega techco has been innovating since its inception 48 years ago – but in recent years, has transformed into a tech conglomerate, stepping up from being a strong regional player to a company with global aspirations, one that continues to push the boundaries of technology and innovation.

The Abu Dhabi-headquartered Group’s ambitious transformation strategy has focused on the adoption of technologies such as AI, cloud computing, blockchain and IoT along with diversification of business verticals and active pursuit of strategic partnerships and M&As – leading to the building of multiple revenues streams.

This year alone, the Group has increased its stake in Vodafone Group to 14%, acquired a majority stake in Careem’s superapp, invested US$60m for a 10% stake in South Korea’s cloud management firm Bespin Global and partnered with global firms such as SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and Singtel to launch a global alliance in AI for telecoms.

And it’s a strategy that is clearly paying off, with e& delivering “outstanding” Q3 financial and operational results, including a 20% growth in net profit to AED2.5 billion.

e& exhibition stand at recently held GITEX

This comes as the US$56.17 billion technology pioneer continues to roll out further innovations and verticals as it looks to “lead the change” with AI-powered solutions and sustainable mobility, and to realise “our vision of digitally empowering societies”, according to CEO Hatem Dowidar.

Among recent innovations, the Group has collaborated with Microsoft to deliver a new AI-powered virtual assistant and further introduced the world’s first AI-empowered telecom store.

Revolutionising retail, EASE uses ground-breaking technology – from AI and ML to facial recognition, smart gates and robotics – to allow customers to seamlessly purchase products and service, marking a “major milestone in our transformation journey to redefine the future of retail and customer experience”, Hatem said.

The company has also taken a major step towards supporting electric mobility in the UAE, as part of its ongoing and now elevated commitment to sustainability.

Leading the sustainable change – with technology

With the soft launch of end-to-end holistic EV charging solution Charge&Go, e& is working collaboratively with government and private entities to realise the UAE’s vision of setting up the most expansive EV charging network.

The network will see stations “strategically” placed across the UAE that will offer users a “dependable, and easily accessible charging solution”, Dowidar said in an interview on the sidelines of GITEX.

Leading the charge on the switch to EVs is part of e&’s commitment to a greener future – as it looks to attain net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions for its own UAE operations by 2030.

A Principal Technology Partner for COP28, the Group is now recognised as ‘committed to the near-term science-based targets’ and has been accelerating its energy efficiency programmes since 2019 – managing multiple initiatives to reduce its carbon footprint. To date, e& has avoided 380,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in three key markets – the UAE, Pakistan and Egypt.

Earlier this year, e& joined more than 100 global companies in signing up to WEF’s Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics and now aligns its performance reporting with ESG indicators – and further became the first private sector company in the UAE to join the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA).

“We are acting as a catalyst for change and stepping up our efforts not only in telecoms but across our technology services,” Dowidar says.

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In line with its commitment to climate action too, the Group recently joined WEF’s EDISON Alliance to promote global digital inclusion for more than 30 million people in the 13 markets that e& serves.

Not just that, but a recent collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Education looks to nurture a digital-first mindset among student using next-gen digital tools.

As a COP28 tech partner, e& will provide network connectivity and digital infrastructure during the conference and highlight its sustainable operations, programmes and projects at its showcase in the Green Zone area in Dubai Expo City.

“Our partnership with COP28 emphasises e&'s dedication to addressing global social, economic, and climate challenges, mirroring the UAE's commitment to leading sustainable economy, industrial growth, and advancing the climate agenda across multiple sectors."

More highlights in Q3:

Among other innovations in Q3 across various e& verticals:

  • etisalat by e& introduced a groundbreaking social cloud-gaming platform ‘the Arena Challenge’, powered by OnMobile Global's ONMO. 
  • The world's first successful trials of high-capacity transmission networks and 5G milestones, such as a breakthrough with a successful mmWave pilot deployment over 10km and a record downlink speed of over 13Gbps in partnership with Ericsson.
  • Launch of the e& enterprise Innovation Centre. In line with the objectives of the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy (ADIS), e& enterprise collaborated with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) to enhance and share experiences in the areas of Industry 4.0 and sustainability manufacturing. 
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