[zawya] Etisalat lost mobile phone and landline subscribers in the second quarter, but it continues to add new internet users. The loss might be a result of intense competition with the country's second telecom carrier, du, and easing of population due to repatriation of expatriates.
According to the data published by the company on Saturday, it had 7.26 million mobile users, about 1.33 million fixed lines and 1.23 million internet subscribers in the first half of 2009 in the UAE. However, at the end of the first quarter of this year, the company had 7.341 million mobile phone users, 1.349 million fixed-line subscribers and 1.202 million internet customers.
This translates to a quarterly loss of about 81,000 mobile phone subscribers and 19,000 fixed lines but an increase of 28,000 new internet connections. In the first quarter of this year, the company had added 56,000 new mobile subscribers and 49,000 new internet connections while it had lost about 10,000 fixed lines.
Despite these negative trends in the home market, the company's chairman aims to add 15 million customers by 2010 to hit the 100 million mark by focusing on international markets.
"Etisalat provides services to more than 85 million subscribers from geographical base of 1.7 billion people. The number of Etisalat subscribers is expected to reach to 100 million during 2010," Etisalat Chairman Mohammad Omran said in a statement issued on Saturday.
Mohammed Al Qamzi, chief executive officer of the company, said that the company saw areas of expansion in its saturated home market, where he said mobile penetration had exceeded 200 per cent.
"This high penetration rate reduces the opportunities for growth in number of subscribers, and gives a chance for cumulative growth in terms of rates, minutes of use and data traffic through mobile phones and 3G services," Qamzi said.
The company is expanding its value added services bouquet to increase average revenue from users. It is also rolling out an advanced optic fibre network in the capital city of Abu Dhabi that will enable the company to provide high definition television along with high-speed broadband.
Etisalat loses UAE subscribers