Vodafone Qatar has become the latest operator to form a strategic partnership with M2M device maker NetComm Wireless.
The deal comes just weeks after NetComm (Sydney, Australia) announced partnerships with Verizon Wireless (New York City, NY) in the US and Etisalat (Abu Dhabi) in the United Arab Emirates, and is aimed at helping Vodafone Qatar (Doha, Qatar) develop a portfolio of smart-city applications, including security systems, intelligent transport systems, smart metering and smart medical devices.
Vodafone Group already uses NetComm’s 3G gateway across its Global Enterprise markets, and this looks set to be used in Qatar, helping Vodafone’s local unit to provide remote-monitoring and asset-management services to businesses in the country.
The companies say their agreement will also help support a government scheme – the Qatar National Vision 2030 – to develop and diversify the country’s economy through investment in smart-city technologies.
“In the next 20 years, Qatar will have one of the smartest cities on earth and M2M technology will underpin the delivery of this successful outcome,” said Kyle Whitehill, Vodafone Qatar’s chief executive. “This new collaboration with NetComm Wireless underpins our strategy to enable smart cities in Qatar.”
According to Business Monitor International, the agreement shows that Vodafone Qatar is beginning to follow in the footsteps of mobile operators in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have been expanding their enterprise and managed services offerings this year to counter the decline in traditional activities.
Ooredoo (Doha, Qatar), the Qatari incumbent, signed a smart-cities agreement with Cisco (San Jose, CA, USA) in mid-2012, but BMI reckons Vodafone will have first-mover advantage in M2M and be able to draw heavily on the international experience of the Vodafone Group (Newbury, UK).
“Vodafone Qatar shares our commitment to innovation and we look forward to working together to transform business communications at a time of significant industrial growth and infrastructure development,” said David Stewart, NetComm’s chief executive.
“The combined capacity of Vodafone Qatar’s experience in deploying such solutions and NetComm’s 3G/4G technologies will enable a new level of business efficiency, productivity and safety,” he added.