The UAE’s biggest telecoms operator, etisalat by e&, has launched a new messaging platform called GoChat Messenger, an all-in-one app that provides solutions in areas such as communications and finance.
The service, which is available on both Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, allows users in the UAE to make free voice and video calls to anywhere in the world, as well as remit money, pay bills, play games, read the latest news and run polls, the Abu Dhabi-based company said in a statement on Thursday.
It also offers access to home services such as cleaning, personal grooming and PCR testing — which would rival Dubai-based Careem — plus integration with Smiles, e&’s customer loyalty rewards programme, it added.
“At etisalat by e&, there have been continuous efforts to ramp up efforts to ideate and create innovative propositions that drive smart connectivity, maximise value creation and enhance customer experience,” the statement said.
“GoChat Messenger is the latest addition to the suite of products and services that will benefit customers in the face of the ever-growing need for amplified connectivity in a post-pandemic era.”
Voice and video calling — which run on voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology — on mobile devices were popular even before the Covid-19 pandemic struck.
The health crisis, however, caused a spike in VoIP use, as people were confined to their homes and office workers, students and businesses conducted more activities online.
The global VoIP market is projected to grow to $102.5 billion by 2026 from an estimated $85.2bn in 2021, at a compound annual rate of almost 4 per cent, data from Research and Markets showed.
The use of VoIP also has the potential to provide significant savings. Users can save up to 90 per cent on international calls and 40 per cent on local calls, while companies can save on operational costs, a study from data provider FinancesOnline showed.
Currently, services such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and Google Meet are popular platforms for video calls, though they mainly to cater to businesses and their essential tasks.
Etisalat will continue to offer other alternative internet calling platforms, including Botim, C’Me and HiU, in the UAE, its website said.
GoChat’s launch is in line with the group’s positioning as a global technology and investment conglomerate and follows its rebranding in February, it said.
“This illustrates the company’s continuous efforts to provide creative offerings that best support its customers’ requirements,” it added.