i2 snaps up Cellempower to push into value-added services market

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By  Published  September 29, 2006

Mobile phone distributor i2 has acquired Dubai-based mobile value-added services and mobile marketing provider Cellempower in a bid to position itself for projected growth in the value-added services market.

The market for value-added services in the Middle East is expected to hit US$1.7 billion by 2010, up from US$350million last year , according to industry research cited by i2.

“This acquisition will allow us to better serve our customers and our partners through the consolidation of our leadership in regional markets,” said Abdul Hameed Al Sunaid, i2’s president and CEO.

“Together we will have stronger bundling programmes, content, applications and several new offerings that will benefit the end user by leveraging i2’s strong distribution and retail network.”

The acquisition is the latest stage in the two firms’ relationship, with i2 having been a founding stakeholder in Celle-mpower. Ben Dhia, president and CEO of Cellempower, also welcomed the move, describing the match as an “optimal fit”.

The acquisition “will not only differentiate i2 and improve its competitiveness but will [also] reinforce the position of Cellempower in its core activities by adding the reach of customers through the mobile devices that i2 is distributing across all its markets,” he said.

Non-voice services will account for 30% of telecom operators’ total revenue in the next three to five years, according to research cited by Cellempower.

SMS services are the most popular of these and currently constitute a 50-60% share of non-voice revenues, it said.

Al Sunaid also revealed that the the company had ‘big plans ahead’ including new acquisitions, new market penetration and retail expansion.

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