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Egyptian mobile operators raise users and profits

Egypt's two mobile phone operators have had a succesful first half of the year, with both companies experiencing a rise in subscriber numbers and profits.

Egypt's two mobile operators have recorded a solid second quarter, with both companies boosting their profits and increasing their subscriber bases.

MobiNil's net profits jumped from US $22 million in the first quarter of 2001 to $28 million in the second. Mobinil's results were aided by a fall of nearly two million dollars in non-operating expenses, down from $18.19 million to $16.28 million.

"The strategies that we have adopted to increase efficiency and productivity are bearing fruit," said MobiNil president Osman Sultan.

"We are continuing an aggressive roll out of our infrastructure in order to meet the needs of the market."

MobiNil said it now has over 1.7 million subscribers, compared to 1.47 million at the end of March. In line with the major global operators, MobiNil has also announced that it will start eliminating customers who have been inactive for more than 90 days from its subscriber figures, in order to give a more reliable figure.

"We believe this is a positive global trend in reporting consistency across the industry and in line with MobiNil's commitment to full disclosure and transparency," said Sultan.

Parent company Orascom saw its own financial figures climb on the back of the positive MobiNil results, with earnings surging 59% against the same period last year to $60 million.

Meanwhile, MobiNil's competitior Click Vodafone reported that its subscriber base has hit 1.2 million.

Although the two companies now have an impressive 3 million subscribers between them, this still only represents a penetration of 4%.

Click Vodafone also announced a new deal with Citibank to create a co-branded credit card, the first of its kind in Egypt.

Vodafone subscribers who are also Citibank customers will be able to use the card, and will also be eligible for free minutes and gifts from both companies. Early applicants will benefit from a year's free use of the card, with no annual fee.

"I am pleased to say that Egypt is the second country outside the United States to rebrand - which reflects the importance we place on the Citibank franchise in Egypt," said Citibank's country manager Rajeev Kakar.

Citibank opened in Egypt in 1955, but suspended activities in 1961 when banks were nationalised, returning 13 years later. Click, meanwhile, has been operating since 1998 when it launched with just 20,000 subscribers.

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