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Mon 15 Dec 2008 02:00 PM

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Etisalat defends its telecom leader stance

Chief exec talks openly about competition from du, regulatory constraints and pricing controversies

Nasser bin Obood, chief corporate affairs officer at Etisalat, has defended the company’s stance as a telecommunication leader in his opening speech for the 2008 GSM > 3G Middle East conference.Etisalat was named the ‘best international carrier’ at the recent 2008 World Communication Awards for its service quality and growth driven by market share gains in key regional economies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Aware of the disparity in prices and services the group offers in the different countries it operates, Obood is turning a critical eye to the regulatory environment in the UAE.

“Our customers compare Etisalat in UAE with Etisalat in other areas like Saudi and Egypt, and they see the services that are offered abroad are by far not comparable to what we offer at home. This is because of the regulatory regime here in the UAE...we have constraints; we cannot go and push into the market the price plans which our customers are waiting for,” stated Obood.

Despite du’s recent announcement that it has reached 3 million customers, he remains confident of Etisalat’s continued success.

“When this competition started we had 3 million customers and now we have 7 million. Our profit was around 4 billion and this year we are 9 billion. Our position has more than doubled.”

Obood believes du’s milestone should herald a change in the regulatory regime in the UAE, stating that “the time has come to have some relief”.

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