Injecting competition

Since its entry to the Egyptian mobile sector last year, Etisalat Misr has been instrumental in introducing much needed competition to the country.

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By  Administrator Published  May 26, 2008

Since its entry to the Egyptian mobile sector last year, Etisalat Misr has been instrumental in introducing much needed competition to the country.

Etisalat Misr's entry to the Egyptian market almost one year ago was a turning point for the Egyptian mobile market. The company, which is 66% owned by UAE incumbent Etisalat, introduced new services to Egyptian customers, including video calls, mobile TV and high-speed internet, using Etisalat's advanced 3.5G and 3.75G network.

But with Egypt's other mobile operators, Mobinil and Vodafone responding to the competition with new services and price reductions of their own, Etisalat Misr is showing no signs of complacency.

Eng. Saleh Al Abdooli CEO of Etisalat Misr tells CommsMEA about the company's plans for the coming year and why he views continued investment in 3G services as key to success.

Etisalat has achieved its huge number of subscribers in record time? What does this indicate?

It indicates two important things. The first is that the Egyptian market had room for massive growth, which validates Etisalat's vision when it first came to bid for the third mobile licence.

The second point is the huge response by the Egyptian public for what was offered by Etisalat in terms of new products and services and affordable pricing that puts the needs of the consumer first.

Our goal from the very beginning was to add true value to the subscriber, and offer our services at prices that are fair and transparent for the Egyptian consumer.

From our first day in operation, we offered all our services with taxes included and for the first time in Egypt the consumer was able to pay the value that was on the scratch cards, as well as use the full amount without any hidden values or costs.

What were your predictions for subscriber numbers by the end of the first year?

We were originally aiming for 3 million subscribers, we have exceeded this number long before the year was ending and we now have more than 4 million subscribers. We will continue to offer promotions and services that are most demanded by the Egyptian public, and we will continue to provide the highest added value and transparency for all its subscribers.

Do your expectations for the first three years exceed the estimate of 10 million subscribers?

In light of this increase in subscriber numbers we now expect to reach twelve million subscribers within the first three years of operation.

Is it natural that this increase in subscribers is met with a network expansion?

The increase in subscriber numbers is indeed paralleled with a major expansion in Etisalat's coverage and sites, and the number of sites has now reached over 2,400 sites covering all areas of Egypt.

How reliant is Etisalat on national roaming?

Etisalat's reliance on national roaming is now only very limited, since the company's network covers most of the country's populated areas and there are only a few outlying areas where national roaming is still in effect.

We are currently extending our coverage to these areas and building sites and stations to cover them in the near future.

How much money have you invested in the network so far?

Etisalat's investment in its network has so far reached close to EGP3 billion (US$556 million), and we expect this number to reach EGP8 billion (US$1.5 billion) within the next three years.

What did Etisalat bring to the Egyptian market?

Etisalat now offers a complete array of products and services, we have provided all the tariffs; pre-paid, post-paid and hybrid, we have yearly plans and offers that cater for every Egyptian. We offer the most competitive prices in each category complemented with quality of service and unprecedented technology.

We were also the first to bring 3.5G to the market, the first to bring 3.75G to the market and we have become the operator of choice for seekers of the latest technology. Our subscribers enjoy the widest 3G coverage and an extensive range of 3G services and download speeds.

Etisalat in Egypt

Since starting operations in Egypt, Etisalat has helped drive price reductions in the country, by offering special offers and discounts that had not been seen before by Egyptian mobile phone users.

The company started by offering services, rates and scratch cards that included the taxation within the cost of the items for the first time in the Egyptian mobile market.

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