By Nayla Razzouk and Haris Anwar
Peter Kaliaropoulos says telco seeks to increase its customers by about 50% in 2010.
Bahrain Telecommunications plans to expand in North Africa and Asia as the company, also known as Batelco, seeks to increase its customers by about 50 percent in 2010, Chief Executive Officer Peter Kaliaropoulos said.
“We have plans to have two new clusters, one in North Africa and one in India-Asia,” Kaliaropoulos said in an interview in Amman Monday. “We had 6.5 million customers at the end of the first quarter, and our objective is to reach ten million customers at the end of this year.”
Middle Eastern telephone service providers are expanding outside their home countries into markets with young and growing populations. These countries often have lower penetration rates, or numbers of people owning and using mobile telephones, than in more developed European or Persian Gulf markets.
Batelco said in April its first-quarter profit dropped seven percent to $64.5m. The company posted a record $279m profit in 2009.
The company’s shares fell 0.9 percent in Bahrain to 0.57 dinar Monday.