On this day, the UAE Armed Forces were unified…

If you’ve spotted a mysterious phrase floating by the signal icon on your mobile phone, and it says DEFENCE48, we’re here to break it down for you.

Many have spotted the change, having appeared yesterday, and wondering what the change in the network name could signify now. That’s because May 6 is the day the UAE Armed Forces were unified, and this year marks the 48th anniversary of the occasion.

To commemorate Armed Forces Unification Day, the people are being sent a message of tribute and appreciation for the armed forces, their valour, dedication and love for their country. HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, delivered a statement on marking 48 years since the day. It read as follows:


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‘May 6th is one of the most revered and enduring days in the history of the UAE. On this day in 1976, one of the most important decisions of the nation was made to unify our armed forces. This decision strengthened the Union and reinforced the pursuit of national cohesion by the UAE’s Founding Father and his fellow rulers, may God bless them.

On this precious occasion, I extend my best regards and appreciation to all members of our armed forces across various branches, and I thank them, offer my support, and value their contributions, dedication, and steadfastness in upholding the nation’s progress in diverse fields. I also commend the values they champion, all of which represent our dear nation, particularly in their efforts to assist the needy and support those afflicted in disaster and crisis areas.

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On this day, we pray for mercy for our honourable fallen heroes who gave their lives in defence of the UAE and its values and continue to serve as exemplars of patriotism and sacrifice.

Our armed forces will remain a shield for the nation, a protector of development, and a pillar of progress in the UAE.’ 

This has happened before…

This isn’t the first time the network name has changed for special occasions or reasons. Earlier this year, in March, the phone network name changed to ‘Motherfnd’ for a Ramadan campaign launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai over the Holy Month of Ramadan.

This year, the Ruler of Dubai targeted the campaign to Mothers calling it the Mothers’ Endowment campaign, which aims to honour mothers in the UAE by establishing a one million endowment fund to support the education of millions of individuals around the world.

The network name also changed to ‘Bck2earth’ for Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi’s return to Earth from his historic mission aboard the International Space Station.

Images: Getty