Second UAE operator going mobile mid-2006

Wholly UAE owned, the new operator will begin with mobile services before moving to fixed and broadband.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  December 11, 2005

The UAE Telecommunication Regulatory Authority has provided details of the country’s second operator, due to begin service in mid-2006. According to the TRA the new company will be called the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company. The TRA confirmed that the public joint-stock company would have a capital of US$1.1 billion, with 50% would be owned by the government through two state bodies. The remaining stake would be held by Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Company and The Emirates Company for Telecommunications and Technology, each holding a 25% stake. The decision keeps out any foreign investment, keeping the company in UAE hands at a time when many other Arab nations have welcomed international financing. According to the TRA, the owners would consider reducing their stakes to allow for a 20% IPO in 2006. The company is expected to be commercially launched in mid-2006. It will first offer mobile services, before moving on to fixed-line telephony and broadband. Two headquarters will be opened in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Etisalat, currently the only operator in the UAE, has claimed that the competition is not something it is worried about. “We have been working as if we had a competitor for years,” said CEO Mohammed Omran speaking to CommsMEA earlier in the year. However Etisalat has wasted no time in announcing a host of new services and offerings across all their networks. New services such as electronic billing, mobile TV and a next generation network boosting fixed-line offerings have been announced, among others, along with significant price cuts on broadband rates.

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