Ringing it in
Telecom operators in the UAE have weathered the crisis well, and now seem set for further growth.
October 19, 2009 1:34 by Aarti Nagraj
UAE-based mobile operator Etisalat has just announced net profits of AED2.25 billion for the third quarter of the year – a 5 percent increase compared to the previous quarter, and a small increase compared to the AED2.14 billion it made during the third quarter of 2008. However, revenues did fall very slightly year-on-year, from AED7.39 billion during the third quarter 2008, to AED7.36 billion this year.
Etisalat also said that its number of mobile phone subscribers increased by 5 percent between January and September 2009, rising to 7.44 million, while its Internet subscriber numbers in the country hit 1.27 million – a 10 percent increase over the same period last year.
The telecom operator is currently on a spending spree; it recently bought Tigo Sri Lanka from Millicom International Cellular for $207 million. And, speaking to Zawya Dow Jones, the group’s chief international investments officer, Jamal Al Jarwan, said the company may spend between $100 million and $200 million more on Sri Lankan operations. According to Al Jarwan, the company is also planning to invest around $825 million in Libya, and is in talks with Iraq’s Korek Telecom to acquire a 51 percent stake. The company has also announced its acquisition of a 16.6 percent stake in French software provider SoftAtHome.