The Egyptian subsidiary of UAE’s Etisalat launched its services in May 2007. Previous figures released by the company showed that it had signed up 3.1 million customers.

The new figures suggest it went on to sign up just 900,000 customers to the end of June 2008.

Etisalat Misr spokesman Mohamed Khalil says the company will officially disclose its performance in the next few weeks.

In April, Egyptian regulator the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority requested that all operators publish their number of active customers on a quarterly basis (MEED 4:4:08).

Under the new rules, Etisalat Misr can only count customers who have paid for a call or a text in the previous three months.

Previously, Etisalat Misr had counted every sale since it began operations towards its total number of customers.

The revised customer numbers reveal Etisalat Misr’s rivals are achieving faster growth.

Vodafone Egypt, the only other mobile phone licence holder, signed up almost 2 million customers in the first six months of the year. It had 15.2 million customers at the end of June.

Mobinil, the market leader in Egypt, signed up 900,000 customers in the first three months of 2008. It had 16.2 million customers at the end of March.