Dialing for Dollars (or Dirhams?): Gulf Arab Telcos Expanding Their Area Codes

Two recent reports on Gulf Arab telecom operators continuing their expansionist trends out of their home markets, where most have been riding a wave of economic growth spurred by a five-fold increase in oil prices since 2002.  First, an article detailing Saudi Telecom’s – the largest Arab telecom firm by market value – $2.6 billion deal to buy 35% of Oger Telecom, gaining access to markets from Turkey to South Africa.  Only Saudi Telecom’s second foreign aquisition after its purchase of 25% of Malaysia’s Maxis in a $3 billion deal that gave it access to India and Indonesia (the world’s second and fourth most populous countries), the Oger purchase seemed a natural step since it will give Saudi Telecom a presence in two of the largest markets in Middle East (i.e. Turkey) and Africa (i.e. South Africa).

A second article reported that Etisalat – the second-biggest Arab telecom firm by market value – took control of Sudan’s Canar Telecommunications Company by almost doubling its stake to 82%.  Like other Gulf Arab telecom firms, Etisalat has been hunting for foreign assets as it faces growing competition in its home market, where its monopoly was broken by Du last February.  Etisalat, as the article notes, has been focusing its expansion on Africa because the continent has opportunities for growth and, as of November 2007, was reported to be considering new investments of up to $5 billion in Africa.

This entry was posted on Monday, January 21st, 2008 at 3:18 pm and is filed under Dubai, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Turkey.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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