Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) is considering whether to bid for the forthcoming Egyptian GSM licence, according to its president and chief executive officer Mohammed Omran.

‘We are evaluating the situation,’ said Omran on the sidelines of the Gitex exhibition in Dubai on 25 September.

Cairo is planning to issue a request for proposals (RFPs) for the country’s third mobile licence to in mid-October. ‘The market is developing fast,’ said Omran. ‘If we see there is a good result for us, we will bid. We are not deterred by the presence of the incumbent operators [ Vodafone Egyptand MobiNil].’

Omran also said that Saudi Arabia’s second GSM licence holder Mobily – in which Etisalat holds a 35 per cent stake – is expected to pass the 2 million-subscriber mark by the end of the year. Starting its operations in May, Mobily’s original undertaking was to connect 1 million subscribers in the first 12 months and 7 million in the first five years. ‘We are working to achieve the second million by year-end,’ said Omran.

Elsewhere, Etisalat was considering whether to take a 35 per cent stake in state-owned operator Tunisie Telecom– for which Tunis is expected to issue a tender soon – but is unlikely to look beyond the region. ‘Going to Europe or other parts of Asia is not right,’ said Omran. ‘The timing depends on many aspects’ (see page 28).