The UAE’s Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) is reviewing its position in Sudan in a bid to buy a mobile licence in the country.

“We have a fixed-line business in Sudan. The licence was for the whole country and we have some presence in the South and have good extensive fibre optic network down to the border of Ethiopia,” says Mohammad Omran, Etisalat’s chairman.

The decision to acquire a licence will depend on the political situation of the country. “We will decide whether to go for the North only or North and South,” says Omran.

Etisalat is struggling to increase its footprint in the region. The company is currently not considering any acquisitions after walking away from the Zain acquisition in March 2011. “For the time-being we are focusing more on extending our services in our current markets,” says Omran.

In an announcement made on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the operator issued a statement saying it “remains prudent in exploring opportunities to expand its international footprint”. It is willing to rebid for the third Syrian mobile licence if the terms of the tender are changed. Etisalat pulled out of the bid in April citing the regional unrest and dissatisfaction with the 25 per cent revenue share.

With Saudi Telecoms Company (STC) and Qatar Telecom still in the bid, it is unlikely the Syrian authorities will restructure the tender to meet Etisalat’s request. The tender has been postponed, with no date scheduled for the auction.