Etisalat celebrate

Telecoms giant looking to reach 100 million subscribers in 2010

Etisalat is looking to reach 100 million subscribers in 2010 as the telecom company focusing on expanding its markets overseas, chairman Mohammed Hassan Omran has said.

The number of Etisalat subscribers around the world currently stands at more than 85 million but Omran said it is targeting further growth, despite problems in some of its 17 markets.

In an interview published by UAE daily Gulf News on Wednesday, he added that Etisalat's contributions to the government budget since its inception have reached AED52 bn, and its share last year was AED9.6bn.

"Etisalat is currently introducing new technologies including the all-in-one cable for landline, internet and high-definition television," he told the paper.

"The future strategy is based on expanding in global markets. Etisalat is proud to have 85 million subscribers now and is planning to increase the number to 100 million by next year."

He said the company had faced problems increasing the number of subscribers in the Saudi market with tens of thousands of applicants on the waiting list.

"Over 60,000 applicants wanted to subscribe but could not, due to reasons out of our control. For example, transferring a subscriber's number to another operator takes only 24 hours in Hong Kong, but it can take two to three months in Saudi Arabia," he told the paper.

Separately, it was reported that mobile phone subscribers in the UAE will soon be able to switch between service providers Du and Etisalat, while retaining the same number, like customers in Europe and the US.

Arabic daily Al Ittihad reported that the facility has been approved by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRAand will be on offer early 2010.

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