Customers have shifted their behaviour online, creating incentives for operators, legislators and the information communications technology (ICT) community as a whole to adapt their business and processes to keep pace. 
This was the key message from Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, CEO at the Etisalat Group, who addressed world leaders in Davos.
“Mobile has become an integral part of our customer’s daily lives, shaping how they purchase, consume media, communicate with one another and even access public services and health care,” Julfar says.
“There is now a clear trend that ICT companies and governments are thinking differently about the Internet, and are launching new digital services and policies to better service the continuously connected customer.”
Julfar was speaking on a panel alongside leading ICT figures including Michael Fries, president and CEO of Liberty Global; Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox; Frans van Houten, CEO and chairman of Royal Philips Electronics; and Paul Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm.
Together, they debated the different issues created by pervasive connectivity and demand for every faster Internet.
“Etisalat firmly believes in the power of the Internet to be a force for good. Last year we launched our Digital Services unit to help create new applications for health, education and machine-to-machine based sustainable development solutions and we will continue to innovate to help raise the standard of living and address critical national goals across our footprint,” Julfar says.
The panel then debated the role of government in incentivising the innovation and investment necessary for large-scale broadband infrastructure investments, as well as its role in protecting the new always-one environment.
“Governments have a key role to play in the new digital community,” says Julfar. “Not only can they drive usage and increase the capabilities of their populations through effective ICT policy and a cohesive digital vision, but they can reduce the costs of providing critical public services such as healthcare and education, helping to create a positive future for all.”
The Etisalat Group has deployed 3G mobile broadband across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Today Etisalat has two 4G (LTE) networks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and has demonstrated the capability of offering up to 300Mbps in the mobile environment – the fastest in the world.
It has also deployed fibre optic cable in several of its markets, most famously in the UAE, where three million kilometres of cable have been deployed nationwide. This is enough to reach the moon more than eight times.