Etisalat is looking to enter the Indian telecommunications market as a prelude to doing business in other Asian countries such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, the Maldives and the Philippines, a senior executive said yesterday.
The Abu Dhabi-based com pany is “studying several offers” from Middle East and Asian companies to acquire more mobile licences, Chairman Mohammed Hassan Omran said yesterday.
Although it is currently focusing on speeding up the operation of the third mobile licence in Egypt, which it obtained recently, Etisalat is “making efforts” to enter other markets, Omran told Al Emarat Al Youm.
Etisalat also recently bought a controlling stake in Pakistan Telecommunications Corporation, but lost the bidding for a 30 per cent stake in Tunisie Telecom in Tunisia.
“We are focused on the Egyptian market because it is an important market in the region, and one that is witnessing considerable growth. We will begin services on schedule in February 2007,” Omran said.
Observers say the Egypt licence witnessed strong competition between rivals, but Etisalat beat rivals from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and South Africa as well as Egypt, paying some $2.9 billion (Dh10.6bn) for the licence.
The company was earlier this month ranked sixth among 50 listed Arab companies by Forbes magazine. It took top spot in the UAE and fifth in the GCC, in the Shuaa Capital-Gulf Business report on the biggest GCC companies by market value in 2006.
Etisalat has been going global with a vengeance since it acquired the Mobily licence in Saudi Arabia for $2bn (Dh7.34bn).
In the race to acquire Telsim of Turkey, however, Etisalat’s bid of $2.51 billion (Dh9.2bn) was the lowest. Vodafone of the UK won the deal for $4.55bn (Dh17bn).
Technorati : Etisalat, India, Maldives, Middle East, Mobile, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, UAE
Ice Rocket : Etisalat, India, Maldives, Middle East, Mobile, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, UAE