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Telcos call time on the recession

The UAE has more cellphone lines per person than anywhere else on Earth. No wonder the two phone operators have engaging plans for the future.

February 24, 2010 6:32 by

The UAE mobile operator du today reported a 155 percent surge in mobile subscribers, and an increase in net profit before royalty payments from AED8 million in 2008, to AED528 million last year. The company’s revenue grew to AED5.3 billion, a 35 percent increase on 2008, it said.

The results mark further evidence that the UAE telecoms sector has come of age.

There is now an average of as many as 2.4 mobile phone lines per person in the UAE – the highest penetration in the world, according to a recent report in The National.

While 2.4 SIM cards per person sounds a lot, experts predict even more growth in mobile penetration. Except that, in the future, the cards will be for machines, not people.

“There is much more of a market with machine-to-machine,” Mohammed Omran, the chairman of Etisalat, told The National. “Your car communicating, parking meter reading, electrical meter reading, water meter reading – these are machines that can relay data. These are machines that need to communicate with other machines. This is why I think there’s much more market, not only in the UAE.”

Shares in du, which is listed of the Dubai Financial Market (DFM), have soared by 46.91 percent over the last 12 months, against a 1.27 percent loss on the DFM General Index. Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat is up 7.24 percent compared with this time last year, significantly less than the 16.28 percent gain made by the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange index.

Osman Sultan, chief executive of du, was bullish about the telco’s future at a results announcement earlier today.

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  1. Syed Abdul Karim Tanveer on February 25, 2010 11:16 am

    This is great news! 240% penetration is remarkable. This is a big achievement for both the players to be able to create opportunity in such a competitive market. Also inspiring is their vision to push for more growth.

    It seems UAE is moving towards making the “Internet of Things” a reality. I think with all the investment in infrastructure and the innovations in real estate, telecom and technology, it’s all coming together. We can expect UAE to continue to push forward and be the first to build Smart Cities!

  2. Tag wook on March 2, 2010 2:39 pm

    Moving in which direction, it is only profit and profit for companies,.Common man is shelling out the highest tariff in the world, and service is going to the dogs day by day. P


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