Etisalat’s subscriber base touches 74 mn before India foray

October 21st, 2008 - 4:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Oct 21 (IANS) The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) leading telecom services provider Etisalat, which is set to enter the booming Indian market, has said its subscriber base has crossed the 74-million mark.The company, which has operations across 17 markets, said the 74-million figure includes fixed-line, internet, cable TV and mobile phone subscribers.

“Etisalat is in its strongest position ever and is on course to achieving its goal of being one of the top 10 operators in the world by 2010,” Etisalat chairman Mohammad Hassan Omran said in a statement.

“We are delighted at the results of our international subsidiaries which are performing exceptionally in all areas. With the upcoming launch of our services in Nigeria and India, we are well placed to maintain our growth in the future,” he added.

Etisalat last month acquired 45 percent of the newly licensed Indian operator Swan Telecom for accessing the Indian market.

Swan holds universal access service licences (UASLs) in 13 telecom circles in India, and is in the process of acquiring UASLs for two more circles.

Together, these licences will enable the company to provide a full spectrum of telecom services, including GSM services, covering a population of over 900 million across India.

The India foray will take Etisalat’s geographical reach to 18 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, covering a population of approximately 1.6 billion.

Swan Telecom’s remaining 55 percent of the shares are held by several entities, including the company’s main promoter, which is controlled by the Dynamix Balwas (DB Group), a Mumbai-based real estate and hospitality business group.

On Saturday, Etisalat announced that it posted net profits of 2.1 billion dirhams ($571.8 million) in the third quarter of 2008, an increase of 19 percent from the same period last year.

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