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Etisalat is fastest growing mobile operator in the world

Etisalat leads other world telecommunication companies in latest study by Informa Telecoms & Media

UAE's Etisalat was recognized as the world's fastest growing mobile operator in Informa Telecoms & Media's latest study into proportionate mobile subscription growth during the first quarter of 2008.

The study, published in the July issue of its Global Mobile newsletter, ranked operator groups on the total number of mobile subscriptions based on their percentage ownership of mobile operators.

Etisalat achieved an increase of 106.41% in 1Q08 compared with the previous quarter, achieving a proportionate mobile subscriber base at 24.2 million across Etisalat's 16 markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

"The Global Mobile report clearly highlights the ongoing success of Etisalat's international expansion strategy, and shows we are on course for achieving our goal of becoming one of the largest operators in the world by 2010," said H.E. Mohammad Hassan Omran, chairman of Etisalat.

"We are continuing to seek new opportunities in countries where technology penetration is low and where we see good potential for rapid and exceptional returns for our shareholders and investment partners."

Operators with a heavy focus on emerging markets continue to reap the benefits of high growth rates with SingTel, Telecom Malaysia, Telekom Austria, MTN and Vodafone (which moved into the top 10 in 2008) seeing annual growth rates of over 40% in their proportionate bases in 1Q08.

Etisalat's regional competitor, Zain Group took second place in the quarter, with proportionate subscribers growing 70.31% during the period to 32.9 million. SK Telecom held onto third place with a 64.2% annual increase in subscriptions ending the quarter with 36 million.

"The number of proportionate subscriptions for the top 30 listed operators ranked by Global Mobile increased from 2.19 billion in 4Q07 to 2.28 billion in 1Q08. The top 30's total subscription base jumped from 3.76 billion to 3.97 billion in 1Q08 putting the 4 billion mark in sight," reported Mark Newman, Informa Telecoms & Media's chief research officer.

"At the end of 2007 Etisalat announced the acquisition of a 15.97% stake in Indonesia's Exceldomindo which has a subscriber base of around 13 million. It has also seen strong growth in its home market in the UAE as well as in Egypt and Saudi Arabia," Newman explained.

Etisalat was valued at $38.7 billion and positioned as the 219th largest company in the world, and the largest telephone company in the Middle East and Africa, by the Financial Times (FT 500) at the end of the first quarter.

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