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Orascom boss predicts major M&A activity among telecom operators

MWC: Changes afoot in global telecom industry with small telecom operators to be "eaten up" by larger telcos

Orascom boss predicts major M&A activity among telecom operators
Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris says the global telecom market will look significantly different by 2011.

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona: The global telecom industry is set to go through a phase of mergers and acquisitions, according to Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris, who said that smaller operators are likely to be "eaten up" by larger players.

"The next few years will witness major consolidation in the telecom operator market," Sawiris said. "All small and medium-sized operators are looking for appropriate M&A deals to be able to secure themselves a place on the new world map of telecom players."

By the year 2011, the operator market will look "significantly different", he said, and will consist of a number of big operators. "The really small operators will ultimately be eaten up, or will only exist in markets with their own specific conditions."

Egypt-based Orascom, which has a combined subscriber base of some 70 million spread across the Middle East, Africa and Asia and recently moved into Canada and North Korea, will take a cautious approach to any further expansion or acquisitions.

"We are not concentrating or looking for any particular geographical region," the Orascom boss told the GSM Association.

"Our interest when we consider M&As is to search for the partner who would provide the most synergies with our group to ensure maximum value addition through this marriage."

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