Etisalat Misr on track to hit 3m by year-end

Egyptian arm of UAE operator set to hit first year subscriber target by end of 2007; in talks to buy ISP.

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By  Michele Howe Published  September 10, 2007

Etisalat Misr, the Egyptian arm of the UAE-based telecoms giant, is set to reach its three-million first year subscriber target by the end of 2007, five months ahead of schedule, its CEO told this week.

In an exclusive interview during GITEX, Etisalat Egypt CEO Saleh Al Abdooli told that after a strong start, the operator, which currently has more than two million subscribers, was highly likely to pass the three million mark by the end of the year.

He attributed the company's strong success to its innovations, which included 3G, on the market.

"Everything we introduced in Egypt was like the first time it was introduced," he commented.

Al Abdooli added that the operator was in negotiations to buy an Internet Service Provider in Egypt.

"We are negotiating with three companies. In a few weeks, we will be finalizing the deal," he said.

He said it was also in talks to get its own international gateway which would enable it to call internationally without going through Egypt Telecom.

Etisalat, which launched in Egypt in May this year, has enjoyed rapid success on the Egyptian market.

The operator currently enjoys a 10% market share in mobile service provision in Egypt putting it in third place behind Vodafone Egypt and Mobinil, but is aiming to increase this to 25% within three years.

The operator said in July it was planning to bid for the Egypt's second fixed line licence, which is currently up for grabs.

If the bid proved successful, Etisalat Misr plans to add triple play to its core of services, Al Abdooli revealed.

Since launching in Egypt, Etisalat has also taken the Etisalat brand to Afghanistan and Nigeria.

It began expanding its operations in the region after the arrival of a competitor in its home market earlier this year.

Etisalat now operates in approximately 16 countries in the Middle East and Africa.

It paid US$2.9 billion to secure Egypt's third GSM licence in July last year.

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