Canadian telecommunications firm Research In Motion (RIM) has announced a partnership with the state-run UAE telecommunications industry to develop applications and services for government and enterprise using its Blackberry platform.
RIM co-chief executive officer Jim Balsillie announced the tie-up with the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and national telecoms service providers Etisalat and Du at information technology trade show Gitex, in Dubai.
Balsillie described the plans as a “new wave of technical innovation for mobility”. The partnership will launch various services to facilitate mobile banking and mobile payment solutions in government departments.
TRA director general, Mohamed Nasser Al-Ghanim, says: “The partnership will develop the e-government initiatives and make sure the UAE becomes a technological hub for the region, but we have a long way to go.”
The new services aim to promote and develop the telecoms and IT industry while encouraging public interaction with the government.
The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority is one of the first bodies to subscribe to the new services and will offer residents the option to pay bills via their Blackberry smartphones.
Balsillie highlighted mobile commerce as a growing area for the region, while Etisalat and Du hope the partnership will encourage more localised content and applications on the Blackberry platform.
The TRA’s recent threat to ban all Blackberry services was not mentioned and both parties refused to comment on the issue.