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BT announces major investment plans in the Middle East

BT announced today it is doubling its investments in the Middle East to become the strongest global player in the region’s telecoms sector.

It will invest in three major expansions in the region; extending its network infrastructure, offering a significantly larger portfolio of products, and hiring around 30 more staff.

The UK-based telecoms giant already has an existing base serving the region, including a Dubai hub for MENA operations. It also formed the region’s first telco-focused research and development centre in collaboration with Etisalat and Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, and has a presence in Saudi Arabia through a joint venture.

However, the new plans will drastically increase its presence in the region. BT will enhance its infrastructure with three additional network nodes in the UAE, Qatar and Oman, and provide global Ethernet enablement in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as well as Ethernet Access coverage in 21 cities across MEA. A planned global centre of excellence for satellite communications in Istanbul will also provide coverage in the MENA region.

New products to the region will include implementation of the BT One offerings (Managed Microsoft Lync, Global SIP, Video with Telepresence facilities, and Cloud) in the UAE. The UAE will also see BT Contact Global Inbound, new Voice Gateway infrastructure, BT Cloud Contact and BT On Demand Compute, as well as several of BT’s security offerings.

BT believes local companies with global aspirations will fully benefit from BT Connect’s ability to provide services in 197 countries and territories.

The initiatives build on similar programmes in Asia Pacific and Latin America, where orders in the first nine months of this financial year were up over 50%.

BT’s decision to invest heavily in the region came after its own research found the addressable market in Turkey, the Middle East and Africa to be worth a combined £5.4bn in 2011. IT spending growth across the regions is expected to top 10% in 2012.

“The Middle East already hosts some of the world’s main business hubs, and is a crucial region for many of our customers. New opportunities are rapidly emerging in the region, and we are now expanding from our thriving base in the United Arab Emirates,” said Jeff Kelly, CEO at BT Global Services.

“Our new initiatives show that when we talk about global ambitions, we truly mean global. This plan will result in doubling the size of our business, benefiting our existing customers and addressing new emerging multinational corporations,” Kelly added.

BT is very keen to implement its investments quickly. Kelly described them as “short-term investments” that will take place over the next 12 to 18 months, with most of the portfolio being introduced within a year.

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