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Etisalat charts Egypt growth

UAE operator to spend dh5.17b over next three years after subscribers top 14m

Etisalat building at Zabeel, Dubai
Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News
"We expectthat wewill invest8 billion Egyptianpounds more in thecoming three years asnetwork expansionis a priority for thecompany."-Mohammad Omran,Etisalat chairman
Gulf News

Dubai: Etisalat Saturday said it would spend as much as eight billion Egyptian pounds (Dh5.17 billion) over the next three years on its Egyptian unit, whose subscriber base reached 14 million after three years of operation.

"We have achieved during the first two years what was planned to be achieved in five years, and by the end of the third year the number of our subscribers exceeded 14 million," Mohammad Omran, etisalat's chairman, said in a statement.

The operator, which launched its etisalat Misr unit in May 2007, had invested 8 billion Egyptian pounds so far in building its Egyptian network and was preparing to spend the same amount in the next three years on expanding it, Omran said.

"We expect that we will invest 8 billion Egyptian pounds more in the coming three years as network expansion is a priority for the company," he said.

Etisalat Misr is competing with Egyptian Company for Mobile Services, (Mobinil), and Vodafone Egypt in the North African country's lucrative mobile phone market.

The number of mobile telephone subscribers in Egypt stood at 58.7 million by the end of April, 35 per cent higher than at the same date a year ago, data on Egypt's Information Portal website showed earlier this month.

Etisalat Misr has the widest and strongest broadband coverage (3.5G) in more than 80 per cent of the county in addition to providing fast HSPA+ applications, the company said.

Gateway licence

Etisalat was the only operator in Egypt to be awarded its own international gateway licence. The company now provides special services and rates through its special gateway, it said. Etisalat Misr also acquired EgyNet and Nile Online to provide fixed internet services.

"Etisalat's strategy is to develop a significant international footprint and to benefit from economies of scale. This will serve for the future and provide satisfying returns for our investors, of whom the UAE Government is the largest," Omran said.

"We have achieved what we were planning for so far and now we operate in 18 markets serving 107 million customers covering around two billion customers," he added.