Consolidate to survive, region told

The telecoms industry in the Middle East is set for a period of intense consolidation over the next five to 10 years with only four or five operators expected to survive, the chairman of Etisalat has predicted, according to a report in Gulf News.

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By  Published  December 16, 2006

The telecoms industry in the Middle East is set for a period of intense consolidation over the next five to 10 years with only four or five operators expected to survive, the chairman of Etisalat has predicted, according to a report in Gulf News.

According to a report in the local paper, Etisalat chairman Mohammad Hassan Omran told a recent seminar on mergers and acquisitions that rapid technological change and the need for scale economies would lead to consolidation in the Arab world over the next decade.

“Technology is changing and customer needs are changing. There is a need for economies of scale which will spur consolidation,” Omran told the Arab Strategy Forum (ASF).

“Only four-to-five operations will survive in the Arab world over the next five to 10 years,” he added.

In a bid to ensure its own survival, Etisalat has been increasingly building up its portfolio of regional investments acquiring phone licences and stakes in among, other places Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

The operator has said it is in talks with a number of countries as it strives to achieve its goal to be counted among the top ten telecom operators in the world by 2010.

However, it has withdrawn its bid for a controlling stake in Greece’s third largest mobile operator, TIM Hellas, having failed to place a binding offer to the Greek firm by the November 30 deadline.

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