Etisalat enters Nigeria

UAE telco operator selected as operating partner for Nigerian telecommunications company.

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By  Michele Howe Published  September 8, 2007

UAE telco operator Etisalat has entered Nigeria through a strategic partnership with Mubadala Development Company, an investment vehicle owned by the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Etisalat will be the operating partner for the Nigerian telecommunications company established by Mubadala to own and operate its telecommunications business in Nigeria.

Etisalat will hold 40% interest in the company, Mubadala will have 30% with the remaining shares held by Nigerian investors.

The commercial launch in Nigeria is scheduled for March 2008.

"We believe that Africa holds great oppportunity for growth and that the development of the telecommunications company is an improtant catalyst for that growth," said Jamal Jarwan, CEO, Etisalat International Investments.

"Etisalat has a long-term commitment to Nigeria and is proud to be working with Mubadala to extend the reach of the people, government and industry of Nigeria," he added.

The entry into Nigeria, which has a mobile penetration of around 20%, will be Etisalat's fifteenth market globally and its eleventh in Africa.

Mubadala was granted a 15-year universal access service licence in March 2007. The licence gives it the ability to offer mobile services and also the right to provide fixed-line, voice, data services and establish an international gateway.

It assessed several operators shortlisting more than five as its potential partners before settling on Etisalat.

"We believe Etisalat is in the strongest position to bring maximum value to the operations levaraging their international footprint and operating experience in Africa," Mubadala chief operating officer Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi commented on the decision.

Mubdala said it is also in the process of selecting a technology partner and has issued a Request For Proposal (RFP) to telecom equipment suppliers. The selection process is slated for completion by October 2007, the company said.

Etisalat will be the third fixed-line service provider and fifth mobile operator in Nigeria.

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