Etisalat signs MoU with seven network groups
Agreement aims to lowers costs, increase infrastructure sharing
Etisalat Group has signed a network infrastructure sharing memorandum of understanding (MoU) with seven of the largest mobile network groups operating in the Middle East and Africa in a bid to lower the cost of mobile and Internet services.
Bharti Airtel, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group, STC Group, Orange, Vodafone Group and Zain Group have all signed the MoU, which is to enable "the initiative for greater co-operation in regards to infrastructure sharing", according to Etisalat.
Etisalat's group chief executive officer, Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar said, "Etisalat Group is pleased to enter into this first-of-its-kind infrastructure sharing MoU with mobile operators from the region and beyond. It is a big step forward for the industry and [for] our endeavour to [make] telephony available to large sections of the population in emerging markets, [and] thereby [improve] people's quality of life and [help] economic growth. It will also help Etisalat to become the leading and most admired emerging markets telecom group in the world."
Etisalat, who operates in 15 countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, said that as part of the MoU they will actively explore commercially negotiated agreements on passive infrastructure sharing, and where feasible from both technical and regulatory perspectives, active infrastructure sharing with Bharti Airtel, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group, STC Group, Orange, Vodafone Group and Zain Group. The MoU is intended to form a platform for other initiatives with operators outside this initial group.
The multi-operator co-operation comes after talks during the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain where, according to Etisalat, the need was recognised for telecom operators to further optimise capital and operational expenditures, as well as increase the penetration of mobile voice and data services to a wider spectrum of customers .
Etisalat Group, who services nearly 150m customers across its international footprint, aims to reduce its expenditure and environmental impact while improving its network coverage in Middle East, Asia and Africa.