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e& expands from telecom to tech with global expansion

Innovative ventures have transformed the company into a leading global technology player

e& expands from telecom to tech with global expansion
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

In the Middle East, the transformative force of telecommunications is propelling the region forward. Innovative solutions are not just contributing to economic growth but are also revolutionizing connectivity and how individuals and businesses interact.

Looking at the evolving landscape of business and technology, embracing the transformative power of AI and autonomous technologies is imperative.

Abu Dhabi-based e& is at the forefront of digital innovation and connectivity in the Middle East and beyond.

As new technologies—and new uses of current technologies—continue to evolve, the company has been bridging the digital divide, ensuring inclusivity and accessibility for all, regardless of location or background.


In 2023, the UAE telecom-tech company debuted the autonomous self-service store Ease in Dubai – offering a unique shopping experience providing access to various consumer products and services, including mobile devices and accessories.

This fully automated store integrates advanced technologies like AI, machine learning, sensors, smart gates, and digital touchpoints.

With global EV sales rising and to foster a sustainable future, e& launched Charge&Go to lead the electric mobility transformation. Through collaborative ventures with key energy stakeholders, e& creates an ecosystem that delivers a reliable and user-centric electric vehicle charging journey and establishes one of the largest electric vehicle charging networks.


The telecom behemoth, which has more than 167 million subscribers across 16 markets and strategic partnerships, has made several acquisitions for future business growth that provide innovative technology solutions and services to all customers across various sectors and offer long-term sustainable investment opportunities for investors.

Last year, e& and Vodafone Business strengthened their enterprise collaboration to jointly market, sell, and service businesses and public sector organizations to support their digital transformations.

Al-Futtaim Group, a conglomerate operating in diverse sectors such as automotive, retail, real estate, finance, and health, is the first customer to benefit from the new Vodafone Business and e& partnership.

Meanwhile, with partners like Indosat, the wholesale division is exploring innovative approaches to serve customers in Indonesia, the UAE, and other regions, focusing on delivering high-quality international voice services for a world-class customer experience.

The company has been collaborating with global tech giants for various initiatives.

To develop a sustainable future for edge data centers with net-zero carbon footprints and support transformative technologies, it partnered with Intel, leveraging its advanced technologies to ensure energy efficiency, security, and performance.
Early last year, to maximize the end-user value derived from borderless smart connectivity and digital solutions across land, sea, and sky applications, e& and E-Space, a global space company, partnered to develop advanced global IoT, Smart-IoT, and digital transformation solutions.

Teaming up with Microsoft, e& launched the Consumer Assistant using Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, delivering innovative products and services. This AI assistant, embedded in voice calls, assists with tasks like weather checks and news updates. Developed collaboratively, it combines Microsoft’s AI and cloud capabilities with e&’s network, highlighting a commitment to co-innovate in consumer voice assistants.

The company also delivers superior digital experiences globally in partnership with Circles, empowering mobile network operators and other regional operators to launch digital telco brands, catering to the digitally savvy generation.


e& is growing with a combination of innovative, customer-centric strategies and investments in advanced technologies and emerging markets.

Accelerating the digital transformation journey in 2023, e& expanded its reach, initiating investments in Vodafone and securing a majority stake in PPF Telecom for a presence in Central and Eastern Europe.

Simultaneously, operations in Pakistan were fortified by acquiring 100% of Telenor Pakistan, merging the expertise of PTCL and Telenor to drive innovation, enhance market strength, and reach a broader customer base.

It also invested $400 million in Careem to expand its range of services and digital offerings, solidifying its transformation into a global technology group.

Other acquisitions include elGrocer, Smartworld, and a merger with Khazna, which expanded its presence beyond telecom. The acquisition of Starzplay underscores its commitment to international expansion in entertainment and financial technology.

Recognizing that the future of technology extends beyond telecommunications, e& diversified into pivotal areas. It is strengthening its presence in fintech, entertainment, and super apps, simplifying digital interactions, and shaping the future of personalized digital experiences globally.


E&’s current business is dedicated to addressing climate challenges and actively participating in the global climate action agenda. Sustainability is pivotal in their mission to uphold environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards.

COP28 marked a successful participation, announcing the company’s commitment towards achieving zero carbon emissions across their operations in all markets by 2040. This marks a decisive step towards environmental sustainability, building upon the company’s previous commitment to achieving net-zero operations in the UAE by 2030.

The company revealed 2030 targets to achieve its objectives, aiming for a 43% reduction in Group-wide emissions from its activities and energy procurement (Scope 1 and 2). Additionally, a 25% reduction in Scope 3 emissions, covering the supply chain and investments, was pledged.

A major initiative to cut carbon emissions involves transitioning from traditional to electric vehicles. This phased pilot plan, targeting full implementation by 2030, begins with replacing 100 vehicles. To promote sustainability at COP28, over half a million green SIM cards were distributed to visitors and attendees in the UAE.

To lead telecom industry decarbonization, e& partnered with the GCC Sustainability Alliance to launch the Innovation Hub for Power Solutions with allies like STC, Zain, Ooredoo, Omantel, du, Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, and Intel to share expertise and green solutions.

As our digital world seamlessly integrates into daily life, offering connectivity, advanced tech, customer experience, and personalization, e& plays a pivotal role in steering digital transformation and its unwavering commitment to a greener future, innovation, and shaping the next big revolution on the road to the future.


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