Jordan Telecom Group takes speedy step toward regional expansion

The Jordan Telecom Group, supported by its majority shareholder France Telecom, has taken a significant step towards regional expansion by acquiring a controlling stake in Bahrain-based Lightspeed Communications to launch broadband packages in both the residential and enterprise markets.

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By  Ronan Shields Published  April 29, 2007

The Jordan Telecom Group, supported by its majority shareholder France Telecom, has taken a significant step towards regional expansion by acquiring a controlling stake in Bahrain-based Lightspeed Communications to launch broadband packages in both the residential and enterprise markets. The partnership, 51% by JTG and 49% by businessmen, will invest US$5 million over the next two years in the Bahraini telecom sector which is largely dominated by Bahrain Telecommunications Company, Batelco. "The initiative will offer customers more choices and outstanding quality in broadband voice and internet services," Marc Rennard, executive vice president of France Telecom Orange Group in charge of Africa, Middle East and Asia. France Telecom, which owns a 51% stake in Jordan Telecom, promised the move will consolidate internet international traffic and access to internet packages will be more affordable for many people keen on the technology. The launch, announced by Mickael Ghossein, JTG chief executive officer and new chairman Lightspeed, and Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalid Al Khalifa, Lightspeed managing director, was welcomed by Bahrain's Economic Development Board chief executive Sheikh Mohammad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa as "a very positive initiative that is one of the first to take full advantage of Bahrain's liberalised telecoms market." Jordan Telecom will launch double and triple play services in Bahrain before the end of the summer, according to a statement from France Telecom. The investment in Bahrain is part of the French operator's ongoing investment strategy to increase its presence in the Middle East. In addition to Jordan and Bahrain, France Telecom also has a 71.3% stake in Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil. France Telecom claims to have over 12 million clients in Jordan and Egypt, out of almost 160 million customers worldwide. The Jordan Telecom Group is the first fully integrated operator in the region, providing fixed services, Jordan Telecom, mobile services, MobileCom, internet and data services, Wanadoo, content services, eDimension, and wholesale services to its customers. Lightspeed Communications specialises in VoIP, VOD, and as of this summer, will be the first operator in Bahrain to offer double play services. Jordan Telecom Group also offers both fixed and mobile telephony as well as internet services.

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