Etisalat plans India telecom buy

Telecom provider in talks with Indian companies to enter world's second-largest mobile market.

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By  James Cordahi Published  April 9, 2008

UAE telecom Etisalat said it is in talks with several Indian telecoms companies about making an acquisition to enter the world's second-largest mobile phone market.

"We are hoping to move to the next stage before the summer," Etisalat Chairman Mohammed Omran told newswire Reuters on Wednesday.

"The next stage would be finalising a deal, making an acquisition." Omran declined to be more specific.

Etisalat, the second-largest Arab telecoms company by market value, said last week it had talks with India's Spice Communications and others about possibly making an investment to enter the Indian telecoms market.

Etisalat is also looking at entering Vietnam, Omran said, without being more specific, and plans to expand in Africa.

"We intend to compete for the fixed line licence in Egypt, as this will represent a substantial added value to the company's portfolio," Omran said, UAE daily Gulf News reported on Wednesday.

Etisalat already operates in Egypt, the most populous Arab nations, through a minority stake in a mobile phone operator.

"We also have massive plans to expand in Africa, as are extending our operations in Tanzania up to two million subscribers by the end of 2008, compared to the present 800,000 subscribers." (Reuters)

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