April 4, 2023

On Video: du Talks About How to Build a 5G Network – and Then Monetize It

Karim Benkirane, CCO at du, discusses the company's transformation journey and the selection of Netcracker as a partner throughout the process to ensure the latest technology and capabilities are delivered to customers.

If you want to be a genuinely digital telco, you need to build a ‘holistic, future-focused network’. That’s exactly what du is doing. In this exclusive video, Karim Benkirane, CCO at du, opens up on this ambitious project.

By any measure, du’s mission to make the Middle East a global leader in 5G deployment has been an unqualified success. The telco invested heavily and early to build out its network. As a result, it now has a 5G network that reaches 97 percent of the population of Dubai and Abi Dhabi.

Then, in 2022, du embarked on a huge digital transformation program. It resolved to “start from scratch and build a holistic, future-focused network…to ensure that its expanding fiber and mobile networks deliver a genuinely joined-up and intuitive customer experience for consumers and enterprises.” 

The project, conceived in collaboration with Netcracker, Accenture, HPE, Arimac, Tata Consulting Services, Tech Mahindra and ATOS, was designed to make du the leading digital telco in the region. du added: “The program will benefit the launch of new services that utilize new technologies, facilitate a world-class experience, improve reliability and empower stable systems and resilient platforms.”

The company’s annual results revealed the outcome: a mobile customer base up 8.9 percent year over year and a fixed customer base up 37.3 percent.

Now the challenge is to monetize this growing base. In an exclusive video interview with Netcracker, Karim Benkirane, CCO at du, expanded on this topic.

He began by explaining the need for a brand new IT ecosystem. “We asked ourselves, should we upgrade the existing ecosystem or go completely green? The decision was made to go green, because the market expectation is so high. 

“We went through a tight process and chose Netcracker to supply our tier one BSS. Netcracker is now part of the family. Together we are going on a long journey where we can migrate our consumer, enterprise, mobile and fixed customers – and deliver on the promise we have made to them.”

The build out accelerated during the pandemic: du launched an ambitious new 5G home Wireless tariff, but this is just the start. The company is also working on configuring the new charging system to differentiate between 5G and 4G customers. 

Benkirane says both partners can learn from each other throughout the collaboration. He says: “Netcracker will help us…with their products, but also their advanced analytics...we can leverage their best practices and greenfield programs around the world.”

“But by adding a regional GCC and UAE touch, we think Netcracker can learn with us too to help us get to the end of our journey.”

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