Etisalat, the largest telecoms business in the Middle East by market capitalisation, expects to have several hundred thousand households connected to its fibre optic network by the end of 2008.

The new network will enable Etisalat to supply its customers with faster internet connections. In turn these high-speed connections will make additional services, such as movie downloads and on-demand television, easier to sell.

Etisalat has 1.3 million fixed-line customers in the UAE, but its customer base has only grown by 4 per cent a year since 2004. Its average revenue per user fell 10 per cent between 2004 and 2007, from AED228 ($62.07) to AED206.