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Emirates Telecommunications Corporation
Traded as ADXEtisalat
Industry Telecommunication
Founded 5 October 1976 (1976-10-05)
Headquarters Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Key people
Eissa Al Suwaidi Chairman
Saleh Al Abdooli UAE operations & Group CEO
Products Fixed line and mobile telephony, Internet services, digital television
Revenue Increase AED 51.7 billion (2015)

Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat (Arabic: اتصالات‎‎ ittiṣālāt, literally "communications"), is a multinational UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As of February 2014, Etisalat is the 13th largest mobile network operator in the world, with a total customer base of more than 167 million.[1] Etisalat was named the most powerful company in the UAE by Forbes Middle East in 2012.[2]

On 31 December 2015, Etisalat reported consolidated revenue of US$14.08 billion (AED 51.7 billion) and net profits of USD US$2.26bn (AED 8.3 billion).[3] The total market capitalization of the company currently is US$44.9 billion(AED 87.7 billion).[4] It is one of the only two telecommunications service provider companies in the country, the other one being Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du).

Etisalat is one of the Internet hubs in the Middle East (AS8966), providing connectivity to other telecommunications operators in the region. It is also the largest carrier of international voice traffic in the Middle East and Africa and the 12th largest voice carrier in the world.[5] As of October 2008, Etisalat has 510 roaming agreements covering 186 countries and enabling BlackBerry, 3G, GPRS and voice roaming.[6] Etisalat operates Points of Presence (PoP) in New York, London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris and Singapore. In December 2011 Etisalat announced the commercial launch of Etisalat 4G "Long Term Evolution" (LTE) Network.[7]


Emirates Telecommunication Corporation – Etisalat was founded in 1976 as a joint-stock company between International Aeradio Limited, a British Company, and local partners. In 1983 the ownership structure changed – United Arab Emirates government held a 60% share in the company and the remaining 40% were publicly traded.

In 1991 the UAE central government issued Federal Law No. 1, which gave the corporation the right to provide the telecommunications wired and wireless services in the country and between UAE and other countries. It also gave the firm the right to issue licenses for owning, importing, manufacturing, using or operating telecommunication equipment. This practically gave Etisalat both regulatory and control powers, which completed the monopoly of the telecom giant in the UAE. In order to safeguard the country's economic development, the law made provisions for the development of the telecommunication sector in the country.

The increase of exchange lines from 36,000 in 1976 to more than 737,000 in 1998 was one of the important indicators of Etisalat network's growth and development.

An important milestone was PTCL's commencement of cellular operations in January 2001, when under the brand name of Ufone it started operating out of Islamabad. It became the part of Etisalat after the privatisation of the PTCL in 2005.[8]

Today Etisalat stands 140th among the Financial Times Top 500 Corporations in the world in terms of market capitalisation, and is ranked by The Middle East magazine as the 6th largest company in the Middle East in terms of capitalization and revenues. The Corporation is the largest contributor outside the oil sector to development programmes of the UAE Federal Government.[citation needed]

Etisalat has also won accolades from across the region for its nationalization programme.[9]

In July 2013, Vivendi announced it would sell its 53% stake in Maroc Telecom to Etisalat for around $4.2 billion.[10]

Business units[edit]

In addition to its telecommunication service provider and carrier units, Etisalat incorporates a number of additional non-telecom business units under the umbrella of Etisalat Services Holding LLC. These units support the company's operations and even provide services to other operators and organizations, namely: training and consultancy services(Etisalat Academy[11]), SIM/smart card manufacturing and payment solutions (Ebtikar[12]), data clearing house services (EDCH[13]), peering/voice and data transit (Emirates Internet Exchange – EMIX[14]), call center (The Contact Centre[15]),cable TV (eVision[16]), facilities management (EFM),[17] as well as submarine cable laying services (eMarine[18]).

Etisalat is a major investor in Thuraya (34.5%),[19] a satellite geo-mobile communication systems provider.

In 2006 Etisalat started a major restructuring program that resulted in the de-merger of many of its non-core business units operating under the telecom's centralized and direct management; core services were consolidated and streamlined, reflecting the company's shift from a technology-driven telecom to a customer-focused services provider.[20] As part of the program, Etisalat launched a re-branding campaign, releasing a new corporate logo and identity in May 2006. The restructuring culminated in the incorporation of Etisalat Services Holding LLC, which as of 2008 oversees the operation of Etisalat's non-telecom business units with huge success stories .

Etisalat Chairman is : Eissa Al Suwaidi

On 27 March 2016 Saleh Al Abdooli has been appointed the Group CEO, extending his responsibility to international operations[21]


Etisalat Group/Etisalat International Investments[edit]

Etisalat International Investments was the business unit of Etisalat that operated telecom operations outside the UAE and managed the corporation's stakes in telecommunications carriers in Afghanistan, Egypt, Niger, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

The International Investments unit, and its management team, was re-structured into Etisalat Group, and Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar was appointed as Group CEO in 2011,[24] followed by Saleh Al Abdooli in 2016.

Mobily – Saudi Arabia[edit]

Main article: Mobily

One of Etisalat's first international investments was the bid to become the second mobile services operator in Saudi Arabia. Mobily, the brand name of Etihad Etisalat founded in 2005 is currently the second largest mobile service provider in Saudi Arabia with over 20 million subscribers. In less than 6 months the company launched services in 32 cities, Mobily brings coverage to 79.2 percent of the population. Mobily was also the first to build in the shortest period the fastest 3G network in the Kingdom.[citation needed]

PTCL – Pakistan[edit]

Pakistan Telecommunications (PTCL) is the country’s largest and most reliable multi-service telecom carrier. Etisalat acquired PTCL in 2005 with 26 percent management stake that was put on sale by the Government of Pakistan as part of a large privatization initiative.

PTCL leads the country in broadband subscriptions, with over 1.3 million in 200 cities while enjoying a robust fiber-optic network which provides access in over 550 locations across the country.[citation needed]

Etisalat Egypt[edit]

Main article: Etisalat Egypt

In July 2006, a consortium led by Etisalat was granted the rights to develop Egypt's third mobile network, with a winning bid of 16.7 billion Egyptian pounds (EUR €2.29 billion euro).[25] The venture, Etisalat Egypt, competes with existing service providers Vodafone and Mobinil. On 12 September 2006, it was announced that the network would be built by Ericsson of Sweden, and Huawei of China, at a cost of approximately US$1.2 billion.[26]

Etisalat Misr's network covers and serves over 99% of the population in Egypt, through more than 6000 base stations, Etisalat Misr was the first to launch 3.75G in Egypt and the first operator to launch video call services in Egypt.

Canar – Sudan[edit]

Etisalat is one of the founding partner companies of Canar Telecom, a fixed-line telecom services operator. In September 2007 Etisalat has raised its stake in Canar from 37% to 82% at an estimated cost of AED 584.17 million (US$159 million).[27]

Canar was launched on 27 November 2005.[28] The operator is reported to use NGN and Wireless Local Loop (WLL) technologies for its voice, data, internet and multimedia services. Canar is one of the first operators in Africa to use an NGN network core.[29]

Etisalat Nigeria[edit]

Etisalat Nigeria launched one of the first major broadband services in the country – EasyBlaze.[30] The company is known for its innovative products and services such as the Eco Sim and the first network to offer special numbers to Nigerians as their mobile numbers via the 0809uchoose campaign.

In April 2013, Etisalat Nigeria announced it would invest $500 million to expand its network, enabling further potential market growth of 17%.[31] In June 2013, it launched the Etisalat Prize for Literature the first pan-African prize for debut published writers.[32]

In October 2016, Etisalat Nigeria Announced 4G LTE With a Frequency Band Of 3 (1800MHz), the speed test results gives 28MBps DownLink and Upload Speed of 11MBPS, the 4G Network is covered currently in some part of Lagos and Abuja. [33]

See also the Etisalat Prize for Innovation, established for African Internet expansion.

Maroc Telecom – West Africa[edit]

In Africa, Etisalat acquired 50% of Atlantique Telecom’s shares in April 2005. Based in the Ivory Coast, AT owns mobile operators in Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Central African Republic, Gabon and Ivory Coast. In 2007, Etisalat increased its shares in AT to 70% and again in May 2008, to 82%.

Maroc Telecom joined Etisalat Group in 2014 offering telecom and ICT products and services including fixed line, mobile, internet and television. The telecom company is the first global telecom operator in Morocco.[citation needed]


Mauritel is the leading telecommunications company in Mauritania. Mauritel maintains a market share stabilized at around 60% of the population.

Mauritanian Telecommunications Company (Mauritel)Mauritel, which is 41.2% indirectly owned by Maroc Telecom of Morocco, has reportedly renewed its mobile licence in the African country for a further ten years.[34]


The former incumbent telco Sotelma (branded Malitel) was sold by the Government and ended up in the hands of Maroc Telecom. With the sale of Maroc Telecom, its ownership passed onto Etisalat.

Sotelma provides local and international fixed line telephony, internet, mobile telephone and other telecom services. Its mobile service subsidiary is Malitel, with more than 6 million customers.

West African Markets

Etisalat Group’s brand MOOV operates throughout West Africa, in Benin, Togo, Gabon, Niger, Central Africa, Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire, Serving over 50 million people. MOOV covers on average 60% of the populated areas in each of its countries of operations[citation needed]

Etisalat – Afghanistan[edit]

Etisalat Afghanistan was launched in 2007 after the UAE telecom operator won the license to operate as the fourth mobile services provider in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

The operator rapidly became the fastest-growing telecommunications service provider of the country. Etisalat Afghanistan has invested over USD 300 million in the Afghan telecom industry, and it’s a wholly owned by Etisalat Group. In 2012, Etisalat won 3G license in Afghanistan and launched the first 3G services in history of Afghanistan.[citation needed]

Etisalat – Sri Lanka[edit]

Main article: Etisalat (Sri Lanka)

Etisalat acquired the Sri Lankan Operation of Millicom International Cellular (MIC), Tigo (Sri Lanka) on 16 October 2009. The acquisition was completed with a total enterprise value of $207 million, out of which $155 million was in cash.[35]

Tigo (Sri Lanka) under the brand name CELLTEL started operations in June 1989 on a Motorola TACS system and was the first cellular operator in Sri Lanka as well as South Asia. In January 2007, Millicom replaced the local CELLTEL brand with Tigo, their international brand. In February 2010, Tigo was rebranded as Etisalat.

Etisalat Lanka operates a GSM/EDGE supported network using 900 / 1800 MHz. The company on 5 May 2011 launched HSPA+ services over 2100 MHz, becoming the first LTE ready mobile network in the country.[36] Dual Carrier HSPA+ services was launched on 15 August 2012 by Etisalat Sri Lanka, the first operator in South Asia to do so.[37]

Etisalat Lanka was recently mentioned in the UNCTAD Information Economy Report of 2012 for the Android Eco System it had been able to develop in Sri Lanka. It was commended for its inclusive policy and several other innovations done in the market such as the AppZone (Sri Lanka's first independent 3rd party app store and the Book Hub, Sri Lanka's first eBook store) Many governments are now looking at this eco system and how it can too be implemented in their respective countries.[citation needed]

Etisalat – UAE[edit]

Etisalat UAE is headquartered in Abu Dhabi and includes three regional offices – Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Northern Emirates.

In the UAE, Etisalat operates where mobile penetration is already among the highest in the world "200%",[38] Etisalat became known for its efforts to roll out its Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) network in the UAE. By the end of 2009, Etisalat had completed the FTTH roll-out for 85% of households in Abu Dhabi, positioning the UAE’s capital as the first in the world to be covered by fibre.[39]

The Northern Emirates regional center is based in Sharjah and covers the telecom's operations in the emirates of Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.

Internet Services[edit]

Some of the Internet services for home users that Etisalat offers include:

Etisalat also operates iZone, a system of Wi-FI hotspots in central locations, such as shopping malls, restaurants, and sheesha cafes. iZone can be accessed by either purchasing prepaid cards, or if using an existing account .

Dial-up and ISDN Internet access services are billed by the hour, whereas the domestic and residential cable and DSL connections have a fixed monthly rate depending on speed. Other Internet links, aimed at business users, have traffic utilization plans and relatively high rates when exceeding the allocated bandwidth quota. This has caused bad publicity for Etisalat and is a major source of criticism.[citation needed]

On 1 June 2013 Etisalat announced that it will provide free local and national high-definition calls across the UAE. Later that week, corporate, private, public and government sectors in the country were provided with better business IT solutions when Etisalat launched its first cloud service in the UAE.

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ Etisalat named Most Powerful Company in UAE. (2012-03-01). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
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  4. ^
  5. ^ "Etisalat – Carrier & Wholesale". 10 October 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "International Roaming Service". 10 October 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Apple's iPad 3 is incompatible with the Middle East 4G". 29 March 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  8. ^ "Ufone Quickly Deploys a GSM Network Covering 1500-Cities in Pakistan" (PDF). Huawei. 19 July 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Corporate Profile". Etisalat. 10 October 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2010. 
  10. ^ Sophie Sassard (22 July 2013). "Vivendi to announce Maroc Telecom sale to Etisalat - sources". Reuters. 
  11. ^ "Etisalat Academy :: Business Training UAE | Technical Training UAE". 10 October 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Welcome to Ebtikar Card Systems". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  13. ^ [1] Archived 11 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ Bilal Mohammed & Digital Evolutions. "Emix – Emirates Internet Exchange". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "The Contact Centre". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "e-Vision website". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "Etisalat Facilities Management". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "E-Marine PJSC". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  19. ^ African and Middle Eastern Telecom Newsletter – Google Books. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Etisalat continues streamlining of operations, restructuring". 19 December 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ Simerini 2013, p. 12
  23. ^ "Etisalad to sponsor Anorthosis Famagusta". Anorthosis Famagusta official website. 25 November 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  24. ^ Etisalat Group 2012 Annual Report ([permanent dead link]
  25. ^ bt – Full Story[dead link]
  26. ^ "China's Huawei, Sweden's Ericsson to build Egypt's 3rd mobile network – report". Forbes. Archived from the original on 19 January 2008. 
  27. ^ "Emirates Telecommunications Corporation in United Arab Emirates, Etisalat". Zawya. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  28. ^ ":: Canar ::". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  29. ^ ":: Canar ::". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  30. ^ [2] Archived 5 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ Etisalat Nigeria to invest $500 million this year, Africa: Reuters, 2013 
  32. ^ Etisalat launches maiden Africa prize for literature - Xinhua | (2013-06-06). Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  33. ^ "Etisalat 4G LTE Network Data Plan Bundles & Activation In Nigeria". Naija Specs. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
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  36. ^ "''Daily News''". Archived from the original on 24 August 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  37. ^ Financial Times of Sri Lanka
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  40. ^ "Al Shamil – Broadband Internet for Home". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  41. ^ "eLife – Double Play". etisalat. Etisalat. Retrieved 24 June 2010.