Etisalat to invest $1.41bn in Egyptian operation

Etisalat earmarks $1.41 billion investment for Egyptian operation as it eyes international expansion

Tags: EgyptEtisalat International - UAEEtisalat Misr
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Etisalat to invest $1.41bn in Egyptian operation Etisalat said it plans to invest some $1.41 billion in its Egyptian operation in the next three years. (Getty Images)
By  Roger Field Published  June 13, 2010

Etisalat plans to invest EGP 8 billion ($1.41 billion) in its Egyptian operation, Etisalat Misr, in the coming three years, doubling the investment that it has already made in the unit since its launch back in May 2007.

Mohammad Omran, chairman, Etisalat, confirmed the planned investment as Etisalat Misr announced it had reached 14 million subscribers in its three years of operation.

"Our investment in the network has reached EGP 8 billion till date, and we expect that we will invest EGP 8 billion more in the coming three years as networks expansion is a priority for the company," Omran said in a statement.

The planned investment was also part of Etisalat's strategy to expand its operations beyond its home market of the UAE, Omran added.

"Etisalat's strategy is to develop a significant international footprint and to benefit from economies of scale. This will serve for the future and provide satisfying returns for our investors, of whom the UAE government is the largest.

"However this desired growth cannot be achieved by having a presence in one market only and requires more operations and investments in markets that are open for growth and development. We have achieved what we were planning for so far and now we operate in 18 markets serving 107 million customers covering around 2 billion customers," he said.

Etisalat Misr, Egypt's third mobile operator, was the first to launch 3G services in Egypt, a factor which many analysts believe helped the operator to gain traction in the market. The company was also the first to complete a nationwide HSPA+ network, offering mobile data speeds of up to 21Mbps.

Egypt is widely viewed as a market with significant potential for the mobile sector, with the mobile penetration rate reaching just 65% in 2009. Javier Alvarez, a partner at Dubai-based telecom consultancy Delta Partners, said that Egypt's mobile sector is expected to grow by about 16% in 2010 to reach 64 million subscribers, giving a mobile penetration rate of about 75%.

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