UAE operator Etisalat announced that all its postpaid and prepaid customers will be able to access the Alhosn health app in public places without activating or purchasing a data plan. Alhosn is now whitelisted so that any data consumed while using it will not count against a mobile subscriber’s allowance.
The Abu Dhabi Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Committee has made use of the green pass on the Alhosn app mandatory for all tourists and residents in Abu Dhabi in order to enter most public places. This requirement started on 20 August as part of measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.
The Alhosn app is being used by authorities to streamline movement of people across the UAE, including crossing the Abu Dhabi border. The status of one’s pass, which turns green with a negative PCR test, is displayed on the app. The app provides a complete history of one’s PCR tests and vaccination status.
Health-related products and services are a good way for a mobile operator to bolster its image among customers and potential customers. Perception of an MNO as public-spirited is generally beneficial to its brand, and during the Covid-19 pandemic, efforts to aid public health mandates are particularly relevant in this way.
Alhosn is the official Covid testing app created by the UAE’s Ministry of Health. By participating with it, Etisalat is placing itself in an advantageous position as a public-health partner in the fight against Covid.
From the point of view of data use, Etisalat’s approach here is noteworthy. Zero-rating the data used by the Alhosn app makes sense—since use of the app is required to enter public places in the UAE, free data from the operator will be especially appreciated. And for those who do not have a data plan, the operator has made it possible to access the app through a special interface on a feature phone.
In short, Etisalat’s Alhosn plan for all customers, whether postpaid or prepaid, with or without data, is an excellent mobile public health initiative.