British Telecom (BT) is looking to double its investment in the Middle East over the next 12 to 18 months.

“We are becoming the strongest global player in the region’s telecoms sector,” says Luis Alvarez, president of Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.  

The company did not disclose the value of its investment plan, but according to Alvarez there are £2bn ($3.15bn) worth of opportunities in the Middle East. IT spending growth across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey markets is expected to exceed 10 per cent in 2012.

“Global customers are investing in the region, firms like Unilever and Proctor & Gamble continue to expand. There are projects in the health sector, construction, IT and telecoms, which are helping us grow,” says Alvarez.

BT is expanding its network capabilities in the region, hosting three communications nodes that will provide ethernet connectivity to 21 cities, including Doha, Muscat, Manama and Riyadh.

It currently has 3,000 connections in the region, but is looking to increase this to 6,000.

BT also hopes to double its workforce by adding a further 170 employees across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey, while maintaining Dubai as a regional hub.