The Real #EtisalatChallenge – Where are the eGlobe Cards?

Do you know about the eGlobe card and where to find it? Is this the real #EtisalatChallenge?

Do you know about the eGlobe card and where to find it? Is this the real #EtisalatChallenge?

It’s Gitex week, and its technology time. For those of you who don’t know Gitex, imagine tens of thousands of people talking about hardware, software and all things geeky. But I digress.

We’ve had our little bundle of joy and we’ve been lucky enough to have another addition to the family this month. To help her feel at home, we wanted to buy phone cards so that she could use the landline and she’d know how much she’d spend each time she’d call home (why not a mobile you ask? Well, landlines offer better voice quality, more stable connections and are usually cheaper).

After a little bit of research and a lot of shop visits, we realized that the VoIP calling cards which were being advertised at the start of the year by the two phone companies Etisalat and Du, Five and Hello! respectively, were no longer on sale (though you’d be hard pressed to find an announcement in the media).

Instead, Etisalat, the UAE’s largest phone company, was offering on its website a solution called eGlobe. To quote:

Use your prepaid, disposable Calling Cards for services such as recharging and renewing your Landline Prepaid (Maysour) account, Home Country Direct calls, Prepaid Internet, eVision pay-per-view, Hotspots, and more, in addition to national and international calls from any phone.

All well and good. But where can one buy them?

Buy Prepaid Calling Cards at
• Your nearest Etisalat Business / Service Centres
• Supermarkets, grocery and convenience stores, other outlets

So off I went. To the first store, where the response was, “What?” Ok, it’s a small store. Maybe they’ll have the cards at the local Co-op here in Abu Dhabi. “No, sir. We only have mobile recharge cards.” And then, after calling up the help line and getting no where, I marched off to the Etisalat shop, where, after ten minutes, I finally spoke to someone who knew about the eGlobe cards. “We have them with a chain called Fatima Stores…” So, off I went to the Fatima Store behind Dana hotel in downtown Abu Dhabi.

After walking around for a while, I finally found the shop. And what happened? “No, I’ve never heard of eGlobe cards.”

As the Thursday afternoon and evening passed me by and having driven, walked and talked in circles all of the afternoon and the evening, it dawned on me. What I had written about a couple of months back was a hoax. You launch a product on your website, and yet you tell none of your staff about it or sell it through your traditional distribution channels. It’s almost like one of those impossible game shows where the odds are rigged forever against you. The eGlobe card is the original, the true Etisalat Challenge.

Are you up to the task of finding the eGlobe card?

Copy and Paste: Gitex news and repeating the same message

I used to joke with a good friend of mine who works as a journalist that companies would often recycle news year after year during the region’s largest technology exhibition. I’d tell him that firms would simply change the date of the previous year’s press release and joke that maybe he’d do the same.

I was reading over one news piece from Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA) during this year’s GITEX. The piece, which I’m pasting below and which is linked to here, is on the launch of the organization’s first official mobile application.

DAFZA launches its first mobile application, in 2013

DAFZA launches its first mobile application, in 2013

I thought I’d seen the news before, so obviously I asked Google. And what did I find?

DAFZA launches its first mobile application news, from GITEX 2011

DAFZA launches its first mobile application news, from GITEX 2011

Copy and paste anyone?

Five tips on how to survive and thrive during Gitex

It’s here, the region’s most manic event. Gitex, the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition, is to public relations and media people what Christmas is to parents of little children who believe in Father Christmas; a ruthless, insane, once-in-a-year event where everyone wants what’s on their wish list and you have to deliver.

From someone who’s done his fair share of Gitex exhibitions both as a journo, a PR person and as one of the organizers, here’s my five top tips on how not just to survive Gitex but thrive despite all of the noise, confusion, and occasional tantrums (you know whom these executives and organizers are). So here we go!

1) A phone with an endless battery

At Gitex your phone will be ringing incessantly. No one has died, there’s no new births to report, and the world is not coming to an end. But if you’re a journalist you’ll be every PR person’s best friend for five days (especially if you work for the official publisher ITP). And if you’re a PR person the pressure to deliver interviews will quickly build to a crescendo. Every single journalist within a four-hour flight will be on your quick dial list. Just don’t let the phone die.

Make sure your phone battery never, ever dies during Gitex. Or else you’ll never be forgiven. (image source: Daily Mail)

2) Lots and lots and lots of caffeine

You will not eat or sleep during Gitex. What you will live on is caffeine and taurine. You will drink coffee, tea, and Red Bull like its water. Gitex veterans will normally lug around with them a couple of cans of energy drinks. And for those new to Gitex, bring lots of small change. The venue doesn’t sell cheap beverages (there is however a supermarket around the corner in the DWTC residences, besides the metro station and opposite Pizza Express).

The above is one way to carry your Red Bull during Gitex, though it’s not recommended. (image source: wikimedia)

3) Ear Plugs

Gitex is noisy. Actually that’s wrong. Gitex is deafening. Exhibitors assume that the higher the wattage from their surround sound system, the more people will stop and watch the models… ahem, executives talking about their business. Gitex is the exhibition equivalent of a Tuesday night club which is hosting a drum and bass session combined with a ladies free-entry policy. If you want to ensure that you leave with your hearing intact then take ear plugs with you. Just don’t forget to take them out when you’re interviewing/arranging for interviews.

Pillows won’t help with the noise pollution at Gitex. Get some ear plugs. (image source:

4) Panadol, Ibuprofen, Vicodin…

You get the point. At some time during Gitex, you’re going to be hit by the mother of all headaches. Be prepared, take lots of meds with you. And if you don’t have any and the dreaded throbbing and pain strikes then head on down to the pharmacy on the concourse to grab your pain killer of choice.

Bring drugs, lots of drugs! You will need them. (image source: The Guardian)

5) The Patience of a Saint

At some point you’re going to be surrounded by screaming, nagging executives who are behaving like a bunch of toddlers/prima donnaa. There’s really thing that you can do, apart from swallow your pride, paint a smile on your face, and remain calm. Gitex would test the patience of the Dalai Lama, so remember you’re not alone in your frustrations. For the week however, you will have to suffer in silence. Remember that patience is a virtue so stay calm!

Keep calm, take a deep breath. Gitex will soon be over. (image source:

What’s your top tips for Gitex? Share and share alike. Remember, we’re in this together!