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Wed 18 Apr 2007 04:00 AM

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Etisalat confounds the critics with strong subscriber additions

Etisalat has announced record earnings for 1Q07, having announced its local and international operations now service 32 million subscribers.

Etisalat has announced record earning for 1Q07, having announced its local and international operations now service 32 million subscribers.

First quarter earnings stood at US$501 million in 2007, representing a 37.3% hike from the same period the previous year. The earnings confounded critics who predicted that earning growth would amount to 21.7% in a survey published last month.

In addition, the company claimed it had added the most new customers ever for a single quarter in 1Q07, despite losing its domestic monopoly on mobile phone services when du started operations in February.

Etisalat's mobile users in the UAE, which account for more than 60% of revenue, grew during the three-month period to 5.78 million users, a net addition of 278,000 users from December 31.

"It's very surprising. I wouldn't have expected so many net additions in mobile subscribers. That inflated the revenues," said Marc Hammoud, vice president of research at Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital.

Etisalat recently celebrated a major milestone with the company leveraging its regional interests to snare 32 million subscribers across the Middle East and Africa. The company achieved this feat after it announced that its Ivory Coast subsidiary Moov attracted 500, 000 subscribers in its firstmonth of operations.

"Etisalat's International Investments unit has developed immensely and has achieved a lot. Etisalat subsidiaries are poised to expand and advance even further, and as a corporation we seek to explore all the opportunities inthe Middle East, Africa, Asia and Southern Europe,” commented Saeed Al Hamli, senior manager Portfolio Management and Integration at Etisalat Services.

The company currently has operations in over 14 countries across the Middle East and Africa and Asia with its Saudi Arabian subsidiary Mobily adding close to 7 million subscribers to its customer base since launching operations in May 2005.

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