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Etisalat: ‘Having a competitor is bad for business’

Etisalat: ‘Having a competitor is bad for business’

Companies in this region love to state the obvious. Cue Etisalat, announcing that competing with Du is hurting the bottom line. If only it was benefitting the customer.

November 23, 2010 2:36 by

A surprisingly 17 percent said they thought the UAE had the best telcos in the world. Seriously. We suspect they were being ironic, but we have no way of knowing for sure. For anyone that was serious, trust us: We really don’t have the best telcos in the world.

Though our poll probably was a bit biased, Kipp is confident that a quick survey of public opinion would reveal the same. Customers are tired of the high prices, the telecom’s limited services, and the terrible customer service. Many would see increased competition, and with it competitive prices, to be a welcome solution.

In another revelation, Etisalat’s chairman Mohammed Omran told the 2010 country report issued this week by Oxford Business Group of the company’s new strategy when acquiring assets: Being careful. “We are not as aggressive as we used to be because we have to be more careful about selecting assets due to the global slump” said Omran. Which is kind of scary when you think about it, as he’s just admitted that the previous strategy did not involve being careful. Good job there weren’t billions at stake.

Oh wait, there were. From the looks of their recently revealed billion dollar debt, revealed during their ambitious bid to purchase a 51 percent stake in Zain, they probably need to be a bit more careful. The National reports that “Etisalat has revealed more than Dh5.3 billion (US$1.44bn) of existing debt in advance of the company’s issuance of $8bn in bonds to help it acquire the Kuwaiti telecoms operator Zain.”

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