Cisco Systems urged Middle East
telecommunications operators to invest in integrated multiservice
data and voice networks to limit the impact of falling oil revenues,
economic slowdown and increasing international competition in the region.
According to Cisco, the most significant change for
telecommunications companies could be economic not technical.
“Operators and carriers that use their existing investment in wide area
networks for both telephone subscribers and data service subscribers will
change the telecommunications service model as we know it today,” said Ghazi Atallah, Cisco Systems regional manager for Saudi Arabia.
Addressing delegates at the Arab International Telecommunications Conference
in Beirut, which ran between 11 to 12 February, Atallah warned of a new
breed of communications service provider that uses an integrated
multiservice network infrastructure to offer a variety of data and voice
services at highly competitive prices.
Atallah added that multiservice companies will make it difficult for
traditional telco operators to compete in an increasingly integrated
Atallah stated that communications in North America had already reached a
watershed, where the total volume of voice (telephone) traffic has now been
exceeded by the total volume of data traffic being passed from computer to
computer over telephone lines, wide area networks and the Internet.
This is a trend, he added, that will be seen the world over as business,
government and consumers become increasingly reliant on data networks such
as the Internet and the new services that these networks deliver.
Atallah called on Middle East operators to integrate these new systems with
existing infrastructure to build the skills, experience and knowledge they
need to remain competitive.