Interview

African continent still yearning for affordable connectivity- Amr K. El-Leithy, President Middle East and Africa Region Alcatel-Lucent

Amr K. El-Leithy, President Middle East and Africa Region Alcatel-Lucent

On January 1st, 2010, Amr K. El Leithy was appointed as President of Alcatel-Lucent business in Africa and the Middle East.

In this position, Amr is responsible for overseeing the company’s overall business in more than 65 countries in Africa, and the Middle East region. He is based in Cairo, Egypt, Alcatel-Lucent Middle East and Africa Headquarters. Prior to joining Alcatel-Lucent, Amr was the Regional General Manager for North and West Africa for IBM.

While in IBM, he held several management positions where he was responsible for sales development, business-partner strategy, customer relationships as well as regional operations. During his tenure, Amr was instrumental in setting-up and developing IBM’s business in several emerging markets and the region under his responsibility witnessed a sustained period of revenue growth for IBM business.

Amr has extensive multinational experience, having worked in Europe as well as North Africa and the Middle East for many years

Amr is a graduate from Cairo University in Egypt and has a degree in Electronic Engineering.

Tell us about Alcatel-Lucent ng Connect Program.

[Amr El Leithy head of Alcatel-Lucent MEA]:  The ng Connect Program was co-founded in 2009 by Alcatel-Lucent, it is a multi-industry organization committed to the development and rapid deployment of the next generation of broadband services based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) and other ultra high bandwidth technologies. Today the ng Connect Program is supported by 80 leading network, consumer electronics, application and content providers.

It seems much has not been done on your mobile advertising platform, the Alcatel-Lucent Optism, any role out plan with operators this year.

[Amr El Leithy head of Alcatel-Lucent MEA]:  Actually I think Optisim is taking off quite nicely in this region, we have several operators in the Middle East who are deploying Optisim, Mobinil in Egypt was one of the first, followed by Eitsalat in the UAE and a couple more.  In 2012 two African operators will also be deploying Optisim

What is your vision for Alcatel Lucent expansion in Africa in 2012?

[Amr El Leithy head of Alcatel-Lucent MEA]:  Africa is a growing market and a focus market for Alcatel-Lucent.

It is a vast region with various needs for connectivity and is mainly characterized by two scenarios:

o             basic infrastructure needs in some areas,

o             more developed areas where existing infrastructures must now deliver high-quality broadband connectivity to support services like high-speed Internet access.

Whether it is the first or second scenario   Alcatel-Lucent brings a broad range of solutions and services to meet the diversity of our customers’ requirements across this wide region; from basic mobile connectivity to advanced convergence services through IP and broadband technologies.

What role is Alcatel Lucent playing to connect people in the rural areas in Africa?

[Amr El Leithy head of Alcatel-Lucent MEA]:  The African continent is definitely still yearning for affordable connectivity, as it is essential for social and economic development. The need for more connections is particularly vibrant in high-growth economy countries, where submarine cable networks can help bridge the digital divide and fuel economic and social development.  Until 2009, Africa has been the least connected continent (2% of worldwide internet consumption). International bandwidth in sub-Sahara countries is expected to dramatically increase by 2012. This massive bandwidth is landing on West African and East African coasts thanks to EASSy, GLO1, LION, MENA (Orascom Telecom), TE North (Telecom Egypt), ACE, TEAMS, WACS and a few other submarine networks; as a result, the cost of International connectivity will be slashed very fast; and the continent will witness explosive growth for mobile, fixed and broadband traffic at competitive rates.  Most of these submarine cables have been supplied by Alcatel-Lucent.

Apart from Etisalat, any operator you are working with to deploy your femtocell service.

[Amr El Leithy head of Alcatel-Lucent MEA]:   We have also deployed Femto in Du in the Emirates.  And we are looking at other operators in the region.

How green is Alcatel Lucent.

[Amr El Leithy head of Alcatel-Lucent MEA]:  I think it is sufficient to say that Bell Labs is one of the founders of the Green Touch Consortium, Green Touch consists of leading Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, academic and non-governmental research experts dedicated to fundamentally transforming communications and data networks, including the Internet, and significantly reducing the carbon footprint of ICT devices, platforms and networks.  Green Touch is governed by an Executive Board, which is led,  by Gee Rittenhouse, vice President of Bell Labs at  Alcatel-Lucent

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