Saudi telco has i2 multi-billion-dollar expansion

The largest mobile phone provider in the Middle East and Africa has revealed revenues of almost $1.3bn for 2006, not only that it is also predicting revenues of US$3.2bn for the end of this year.

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By  James Bennett Published  February 25, 2007

The largest mobile phone provider in the Middle East and Africa has revealed revenues of almost $1.3bn for 2006, not only that it is also predicting revenues of US$3.2bn for the end of this year.

Up from $837m in 2005, Saudi-based i2 is forecasting that company revenues will reach a turnover of $3.2bn, double that of this year. In addition, i2 has set a goal to sell 12 million handsets in 2007, more than twice the 5.5 million sold in 2006.

The company's latest figures are a "validation of the company's ambitious business plan", which included investments of US$55m in 2006, said CEO Abdul Hameed Al Sunaid. "Since our foundation in 1993, we have built a solid network and a deep understanding of the region. Our annual revenues, which have increased fivefold in three years, are clear reflection of our drive to grow and diversify."

In recent months, i2 has embarked on an aggressive and ambitious strategy, which has seen the company penetrate new markets, boost its retail presence in the region, expand its corporate portfolio and secure several corporate acquisitions such as Cellempower and CompuMe. As well as gaining a foothold in Europe through its acquisition of the British GSM trading company Allied TC, i2 entered several markets in Africa, increasing its reach to a total of 22 markets.

A large part of i2's strategy has been to penetrate undersubscribed markets as Senegal and the Ivory Coast, which, while presenting challenges, also offer the potential for greater growth than more established markets. The company's move into western markets is viewed by Sunaid as proof that regional companies can thrive on a global scale. In 2007, i2 will continue to focus on Africa, with a goal of penetrating four new markets.

Over the last year the company has also launched several customer-focused subsidiaries such as i2 club, i2 tv and i2 café.

"We will continue to push the boundaries," Sunaid added. "We fully believe that the values and vision that have established us in the Middle East and Africa will ensure success anywhere in the world."

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