Empire building

With mobile operations in key markets across the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and licensed access to a population of some 460 million people, Orascom Telecom, which is part of the Orascom Group of companies, is fast becoming one of the leading mobile operators in the region.

  • E-Mail
By  Administrator Published  November 7, 2007

Orascom Telecom operates GSM networks in Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe and has more than 56 million subscribers. Hatim E. El Gammal, investor relations director, Orascom Telecom Holding, talks to CommsMEA about trends in the market and plans for expansion.

Tell us a little about orascom. when was the company founded?

The company started out in 2000. It had about 15 African assets in addition to licences in the Middle Eastern and in Pakistan. We went through a restructuring in the past few years and decided to divest the African assets around 2003.

They represented a big headache and a small part of our results, and so we divested. Now we have a major presence in six countries - Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iraq. We have one company in Zimbabwe, and we are holding on to it at this time. If we sold it now we would be selling at a huge discount.

How do you view the Egyptian telecom sector at the moment?

I think the telecommunications sector has huge opportunities. We have seen growth in the market that is exponential, which started at the beginning of last year.

We are very positive about the sector. It has a lot to do with the economy, as it really affects the communications sector. We have had 6% growth in 2005 to 2006, 7% between 2006 and 2007 and we are expecting 7.5% in 2007 to 2008. The economy is doing very well at the moment.

In Egypt, there are close to 80 million people now living in a small area of land. You don't find this anywhere else now apart from maybe in Bangladesh, so the ability to increase subscriber numbers is still quite easy.

Is there anything unique about Egypt's telecom sector?

One of the interesting things we see is that all of the markets we operate in have strong fixed line sectors, with the exception of Egypt. Traditionally, fixed line operators will have the upper hand, but now mobile subscribers have overtaken in the Egyptian market.

If you look at the types of services provided in Europe, they are not provided by Telecom Egypt. So that is why I think it is important that we have a second licence, because with competition you see new technologies come about, penetration becoming higher, new services being developed, and you don't see that here.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code