Orascom doubles subscribers

The Egyptian operator has increased its customer base from 14.5 million to 30 million during 2005, and aims to hit 50 million by the end of 2006.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  January 3, 2006

Egyptian operator Orascom has more than doubled its number of subscribers in 2005, reaching over 30 million by the year end. The operator said that by the end of 2004, subscribers numbered around 14.5 million, and that subsequent growth had come not from its acquisitions, but its existing operations across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Chairman Naguib Sawiris says he is looking to increase the subscriber base substantially again in 2006. “Our target is to reach 50 million subscribers by year end.” Recently Orascom has been eyeing considerable expansion. In late December it bought a 19.3% stake in Hutchison Telecom for US$1.3 billion, giving it access to emerging Asian markets such as India, Vietnam and Indonesia. At the time it hinted that a future merger with Hutchison was not inconceivable. Later in the month it made an unsuccessful bid for a majority stake in Nigerian incumbent, Nitel, bidding US$256 million. Through his investment vehicle Weather Investments, Sawiris also bought Italian operator Wind in May 2005. He later said he was considering merging Wind with Orascom but subsequently announced that this was no longer part of his business strategy.

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