A tender is expected to be issued by March for the contract to supply and install the new technology, which will allow subscribers to access the internet at speeds of 2 megabits a second and use multimedia services. Etisalat has about 2.4 million GSM subscribers.

Etisalat is also pressing ahead with the upgrade of its current network, which has 1.1 million subscribers. An estimated Eur 5 million ($4.9 million) contract has been awarded to Alcatel to add a further 38,000 new lines.