du, Etisalat mull network sharing to beat downturn

Current economic situation is 'pushing' the companies to share infrastructure - du CEO.

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By  Neeraj Gangal Published  May 28, 2009

UAE phone company du may been in talks for a network-sharing arrangement with rival Etisalat to combat the downturn, it was reported on Thursday.

A Bloomberg newswire report quoted du CEO Osman Sultan as saying from Beirut: “Talks are continuing between Du and Etisalat on sharing infrastructure." He added that the current economic situation is "pushing” the companies to share infrastructure.

Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co, or du is an integrated telecom service provider in the UAE. It launched mobile telecommunication services in February 2007 across the UAE, in addition to internet and pay TV services that Du provides in some of the free zones of Dubai. Call Select, Du's nationwide fixed line services for voice telephony, was launched in July 2007. By the end of 2008, over 3m people in the UAE chose to become Du customers.

Bloomberg informed that Du plans to spend UAE2b ($545m) this year to expand its mobile network. Sultan added that there was no drop in the number of subscribers because of the economic crisis or people emigrating. “If you look at our numbers in the first quarter, we added close to 250,000 customers,” he said.

Du is 39.5% owned by the UAE Federal Government, 19.75% by Mubadala Development Co, 19.5% by Emirates Communications & Technology Co LLC and the remaining stake by public shareholders.

Also read: Why legal Skype may not be a feasible option in the UAE

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