The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced the completion of ‘Sada Al Barq’ exercise, organized by TRA with the participation of UAE telecom operators Etisalat and du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company. The exercise was conducted within the framework of the initiative “Telecom business continuity in emergency, crisis and disaster”, which serves the TRA’s strategic goal “Regulating the telecommunications sector in the UAE, and implementing a regulatory framework that stimulates competitiveness and develops the quality of provided services”.
TRA as the driving force of the UAE telecom sector, established an integrated training camp at Etisalat Academy that included trained teams from both Etisalat and du. The exercise was conducted in a hypothetical scenario, where a tropical tornado accompanied with thunderstorms across the country prevented telecom employees from reaching their workstations, and also affected transmission networks. The joint teams responded immediately and formed groups whose pre-defined competencies focused on maintaining telecommunication services from the main operations management center setup at Etisalat Academy camp by TRA.
The exercise included the main stages of response to a natural phenomenon, starting from prevention, to preparedness, to response and finally recovery. This exercise is an ideal model for securing and protecting the vital telecom sector, by providing an effective communication network in difficult and challenging circumstances. Furthermore, the exercise also included establishment of a customer service center within the camp; stationing mobile vehicles equipped with transmission stations for mobile phones; providing equipped mobile service centers to facilitate provision of services to the customers, including maintenance services for mobile and fixed lines, home internet and others.
In this context, Eng. Saif Bin Ghelaita, Acting Deputy Director General for Telecommunication Sector in TRA, said: "The 6th Sada Al Barq exercise is an important element in the ICT sector readiness system to respond to emergencies as it directly supports the directions of TRA to join forces with various parties to ensure continuity of services in this sector in such circumstances.
He added that "the 6th Sada Al Barq exercise combines two modules, a table exercise and a field exercise. During the two days of the exercise, the participants were exposed to obstacles aims at exploring the opportunities for improvement in relevant plans and procedures, in addition to moving the mechanisms and equipment, and establishing integrated centers to simulate and emergency situation that could require transforming the employees into temporary working stations". He concluded by saying that the most prominent characteristic of this version is the reliance on the skilled members of the national service and using the skills they have acquired in their service to establish, equip and sustain the centers, which confirms the sector's enablement of national capacities.
Moreover, Dr. Ahmed Bin Ali, Senior Vice President Corporate Communication Etisalat, said: “Etisalat is honored to harness its entire network and advanced infrastructure capabilities to serve the nation. We have contributed to the UAE’s position among the leading countries in ICT, under the visionary support of the UAE’s leadership. At the same time, we believe that Etisalat’s human cadres are the main factor behind pioneering and excellence. We pay great attention to them and continue to invest in enhancing their capabilities and accelerating their response to any emergency.”
He added: “The success of Sada Al Barq is a testament to the efficiency of our cadres in dealing with crises and emergencies. It is also a confirmation of Etisalat’s readiness to maintain business continuity, thanks to our vast network capabilities at various levels and sectors in the telecom world, in addition to possessing many alternatives that enables sustainability and business continuity in such situations.”
Echoing the sentiments, Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief Infrastructure Officer, EITC, added: “We are thankful to the TRA for spearheading Sada AlBarq. The success of this landmark initiative is testament to their meticulous planning and underscores our optimum levels of readiness to effectively face any challenge that has the potential to impact telecom services. We are proud to state that the entire effort from our side was led by capable Emiratis. We continue to invest significantly in our network infrastructure to not only assure business continuity but also delight our customers by offering futuristic ICT services.”