Egyptian comms boss to head up UAE telco

The former CEO of Orascom Telecom’s Egyptian mobile arm MobiNil is set to head the UAE’s second all-service telecom operator, Arabian Business can reveal.

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By  Rhys Jones Published  October 23, 2005

The former CEO of Orascom Telecom’s Egyptian mobile arm MobiNil is set to head the UAE’s second all-service telecom operator, Arabian Business can reveal. Earlier this month Osman Sultan resigned as the chief executive of MobiNil, with the operator stating that he had “decided to pursue another business opportunity”. Sultan has since been given the nod to head the Emirates’ second operator Tecom and an official announcement is set to be made before the end of this year, or early next. “Sultan left MobiNil a couple of weeks ago and is moving over to Tecom in the UAE,” said a leading regional telecoms analyst. “It’s a big loss for Orascom because Sultan achieved a lot in the seven years he was there,” he added. Sultan’s resignation is effective from the start of January as he is still under contract with MobiNil until the end of the year. It is as yet unclear exactly what his role at Tecom will be. Some have suggested he will concentrate on heading up Tecom’s mobile division while others claim he will oversee the whole company, including its fixed and internet businesses. “I believe Sultan is going to head the entire operation, much like Mohammed Omran heads all of Etisalat and has senior managers of the various businesses reporting in to him,” the analyst said. Sultan was appointed MobiNil president and CEO in April 1998, having held a number of management positions with France Telecom between 1983 and 1994. In 1994, Sultan was involved in the acquisition of a US-based operation and in 1995 became president of another US-based subsidiary, Questel Orbit. In 1997, Sultan joined France Telecom Mobiles International as vice president for business development in the Middle East and the Arab world and was in charge of putting together the MobiNil consortium bid for a GSM licence in Egypt. The consortium succeeded in acquiring 68% of Egyptian Company for Mobile Services. Details of the second all-service operator in the UAE were due to be announced at the Gitex trade show, which was held in Dubai last month. However, a late decision by the Supreme Committee for the Supervision of the Telecommunications Sector led to the postponement of the announcement. It is also understood, however, that behind-the-scenes activity at Dubai Tech-nology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone, the entity widely expected to be confirmed as the backer of the second operator, continues in earnest. MobiNil is currently looking for a replacement in order to ensure a smooth succession process.

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