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No Deal Expected This Year Between Etisalat and Reliance

UAE : 15 September 2010

Arab Telecom operator still has an eye on Morocco and considers Idea Cellular a viable Indian option

Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunication Corp) is the second largest telecom company in the Arab region according to market value, but does not forecast a 2010 deal coming through with Reliance Communications in India.

This was reported by the international chief of Etisalat, Jamal al-Jarwan, who also noted that his business has other options available in India.  Namely the telecom giant is considering investing in Idea Cellular and has not lost interest in Morocco.

Reliance Communications is under the control of billionaire Anil Ambani and because of heavy debts announced the intention to put 26 per cent of the firm up for sale.

As of today, Etisalat is the only firm with an acknowledged consideration toward dealing with Reliance.  Etisalat is based in Abu Dhabi and Reliance has the dubious honor of being the one major local cell carrier operating with no foreign strategic investments in this mobile market, which is exhibiting record growth.

Jarwan noted that a deal is not impending and will not be coming in 2010.  Etisalat is taking their time.

Etisalat has been pushing expansions overseas since they lost their home market monopoly.  The firm has a presence in 18 markets across the globe including Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Jarwan noted that the telecom firm continues to have a keen interest in entering the market in Morocco.

Etisalat hopes to move forward together with their Moroccan contacts.  A deal was very close at one point, but the Abu Dhabi company is still waiting after progress slowed down over the summer.

Etisalat was not successful in last year’s bid to grab a stake in Meditel, the second largest telecom in Morocco.

Currently France Telecom is also moving to claim a stake in Meditel and according to a top executive is merely weeks away from a signed deal.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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