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Wed 17 Nov 2010 01:48 PM

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Virgin Mobile eyes UAE launch, Arab expansion

Richard Branson plans to roll out new services across region, eyeing Gulf states including the UAE

Virgin Mobile eyes UAE launch, Arab expansion
Branson said he was hopeful of rolling out the service first launched in Qatar earlier this year with Qatar Telecom.
Virgin Mobile eyes UAE launch, Arab expansion
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson speaks during a joint press conference with Nasser Marafih, chief executive officer of Qatari telecom company Qtel, at the launch of Virgin Mobile Qatar

Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson is planning to expand his Virgin Mobile brand across the Arab world, with the UAE being targeted for new services.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Branson said he was hopeful of rolling out the service first launched in Qatar earlier in May with Qatar Telecom (Qtel).

“We’re looking at other places including the UAE. The take up has been very good, and it’s been a good way to get our brand across to more people, so we’re trying to see how we can do it in more places across the region," he said.

Virgin Mobile Qatar is the eighth Virgin Mobile branded operation in the world, following on from launches in the UK, Australia, USA, Canada, France, South Africa, and India. Virgin Mobile Qatar is wholly owned by Qtel.

“It’s something that we have always tried to do, a simple structure that costs less and everyone understands how to use,” Branson said, adding: “This part of the world has been very good for our brand, with radio, the shops and telecoms, so we’re looking at many other things we could do.”

Abu Dhabi’s state-backed Aabar Investments has a 32% stake in Virgin Galactic.

Branson said the suggestions for one day building a space port in the UAE “are being considered but some time away."


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Mohammed 9 years ago

That would seriously be the day.

I can't wait for a company like virgin to take etisalat and du back to school. I will literally be the first in queue to cancel those accounts and adopt a full package with Branson's amazing company!

Lifeangelo 9 years ago

Ummm...I don't hink you realize that Virgin Mobile in the UAE will not be an independent company. It will be majority owned and controlled by either du or Etisalat, which means we will not break out of the current price gouging for international call rates, or sub-par customer service.

Sharon 9 years ago

Awesome i cant wait... I have friends using Virgin mobile services in Qatar and i know what a great experience it has been for each of them. Despite the initial glitches from the regulators i think they've made the best of things! great going!

jb 9 years ago

Hopefully we will see real comptetition this time. Real competition will only exist when the competitor is allowed to operate in areas where the other is already operating. If competitor is allowed only to operate in areas not covered by the other, then there is no real competition per se. Correct me if I'm wrong but the only competition I can see in the existing market is in the mobile business only but surely not on the landline and internet.

Dubai Resident 9 years ago

i really don't think anything will workout in next few years!there's no way the regulatory auth. will allow this!
and if this happens i'll just take a off day from work and get all my accounts converted(internet,mobile,landline,evision).....