Etisalat

Etisalat

Overview
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat ( , literally, Communications) is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As of February 2011, Etisalat is the 16th largest Mobile network operator
Mobile network operator
A mobile network operator , also known as mobile phone operator , carrier service provider , wireless service provider, wireless carrier, or cellular company, or mobile network carrier is a telephone company that provides services for mobile phone subscribers.One essential...

 in the world, with a total customer base of more than 135 million.

On 10 February 2011, Etisalat reported net revenue of USD $8.4 billion (AED 31.9 billion) and net profits of USD US$2.078bn (AED 7.631 billion).

Etisalat is one of the Internet hubs in the Middle East (AS
Autonomous system (Internet)
Within the Internet, an Autonomous System is a collection of connected Internet Protocol routing prefixes under the control of one or more network operators that presents a common, clearly defined routing policy to the Internet....

8966), providing connectivity to other telecommunications operators in the region.
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Encyclopedia
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat ( , literally, Communications) is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. As of February 2011, Etisalat is the 16th largest Mobile network operator
Mobile network operator
A mobile network operator , also known as mobile phone operator , carrier service provider , wireless service provider, wireless carrier, or cellular company, or mobile network carrier is a telephone company that provides services for mobile phone subscribers.One essential...

 in the world, with a total customer base of more than 135 million.

On 10 February 2011, Etisalat reported net revenue of USD $8.4 billion (AED 31.9 billion) and net profits of USD US$2.078bn (AED 7.631 billion).

Etisalat is one of the Internet hubs in the Middle East (AS
Autonomous system (Internet)
Within the Internet, an Autonomous System is a collection of connected Internet Protocol routing prefixes under the control of one or more network operators that presents a common, clearly defined routing policy to the Internet....

8966), providing connectivity to other telecommunications operators in the region. It is also the largest carrier of international voice traffic in the Middle East and Africa and the 12th largest voice carrier in the world. As of October 2008, Etisalat has 510 roaming agreements covering 186 countries and enabling BlackBerry
BlackBerry
BlackBerry is a line of mobile email and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion since 1999.BlackBerry devices are smartphones, designed to function as personal digital assistants, portable media players, internet browsers, gaming devices, and much more...

, 3G
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

, GPRS and voice roaming. Etisalat operates Points of Presence (PoP)
Point of presence
A point of presence is an artificial demarcation point or interface point between communications entities. It may include a meet-me-room.In the US, this term became important during the court-ordered breakup of the Bell Telephone system...

 in New York, London, Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, Frankfurt, Paris and Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

.

On 4 June 2004, the Etisalat network was hacked into by an 18 year old Iranian student, Amir Mohammad Siahpolo, who was studying IT at the University of Wollongong
University of Wollongong in Dubai
The University of Wollongong in Dubai also known as UOWD is a private university located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. University of Wollongong in Dubai is one of the UAE’s oldest and most prestigious universities...

 in Dubai. He penetrated Etisalat's main server. Although no data was removed or changed, he was arrested by police 2 days later. At the time of his arrest, he said "I just wanted to reach the questions of my exam that were available on the website of my university." He volunteered to treat the network problem, and the offer was accepted.

History


Emirates Telecommunication Corporation – Etisalat was founded in 1976 as a joint-stock company between International Aeradio Limited, a British Company, and local partners. In 1983 the ownership structure changed – United Arab Emirates government held a 60% share in the company and the remaining 40% were publicly traded.

In 1991 the UAE central government issued Federal Law No. 1, which gave the corporation the right to provide the telecommunications wired and wireless services in the country and between UAE and other countries. It also gave the firm the right to issue licenses for owning, importing, manufacturing, using or operating telecommunication equipment. This practically gave Etisalat both regulatory and control powers, which completed the monopoly of the telecom giant in the UAE. In order to safeguard the country's economic development, the law made provisions for the development of the telecommunication sector in the country.

The increase of exchange lines from 36,000 in 1976 to more than 737,000 in 1998 was one of the important indicators of Etisalat network's growth and development.

An important milestone was Etisalat's commencement of international operations in January 2001, when under the brand name of Ufone
Ufone
Ufone GSM is a Pakistani GSM cellular service provider, It's one of five GSM Mobile companies in Pakistan, and is a subsidiary of Pakistan Telecommunication Company. After the privatization of PTCL, Ufone is now owned by Etisalat. Ufone has a subscriber base of 20.23 million as of September 2010.-...

 it started operating out of Islamabad
Islamabad
Islamabad is the capital of Pakistan and the tenth largest city in the country. Located within the Islamabad Capital Territory , the population of the city has grown from 100,000 in 1951 to 1.7 million in 2011...

.

Today Etisalat stands 140th among the Financial Times
Financial Times
The Financial Times is an international business newspaper. It is a morning daily newspaper published in London and printed in 24 cities around the world. Its primary rival is the Wall Street Journal, published in New York City....

 Top 500 Corporations in the world in terms of market capitalisation, and is ranked by The Middle East magazine as the 6th largest company in the Middle East in terms of capitalization and revenues. The Corporation is the largest contributor outside the oil sector to development programmes of the UAE Federal Government.

Etisalat has also won accolades from across the region for its nationalization programme.

Business units


In addition to its telecommunication services provider and carrier units, Etisalat incorporates a number of additional non-telecom business units under the umbrella of Etisalat Services Holding LLC. These units support the company's operations and even provide services to other operators and organizations, namely: training and consultancy services(Etisalat Academy), SIM/smart card manufacturing and payment solutions (Ebtikar), data clearing house services (EDCH), peering/voice and data transit (Emirates Internet Exchange – EMIX), call center (The Contact Centre),cable TV (eVision), facilities management (EFM), as well as submarine cable laying services (eMarine).

Etisalat is a major investor in Thuraya
Thuraya
Thuraya , the Arabic name of the Pleiades, is a regional satellite phone provider. Its coverage area is most of Europe, the Middle East, North, Central and East Africa, Asia and Australia....

 (34.5%), a satellite geo-mobile communication systems provider.

In 2006 Etisalat started a major restructuring program that resulted in the de-merger of many of its non-core business units operating under the telecom's centralized and direct management; core services were consolidated and streamlined, reflecting the company's shift from a technology-driven telecom to a customer-focused services provider. As part of the program, Etisalat had launched a re-branding campaign, releasing a new corporate logo and identity in May 2006. The restructuring culminated in the incorporation of Etisalat Services Holding LLC, which as of 2008 oversees the operation of Etisalat's non-telecom business units with huge success stories .

Etisalat International Investments


Etisalat International Investments is the business unit of Etisalat that operates outside the UAE and manages the corporation's stakes in telecommunications carriers in Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Benin, Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso – also known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six countries: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d'Ivoire to the southwest.Its size is with an estimated...

, the Central African Republic
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic , is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Chad in the north, Sudan in the north east, South Sudan in the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo in the south, and Cameroon in the west. The CAR covers a land area of about ,...

, Gabon, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Indonesia, Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, the Ivory Coast, Egypt, Niger
Niger
Niger , officially named the Republic of Niger, is a landlocked country in Western Africa, named after the Niger River. It borders Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso and Mali to the west, Algeria and Libya to the north and Chad to the east...

, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

, Sudan, Tanzania
Tanzania
The United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda to the north, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west, and Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to the south. The country's eastern borders lie on the Indian Ocean.Tanzania is a state...

, Togo, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

 and Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

.

The International Investments unit also manages Etisalat's minor stakes in other telecommunications services providers, such as Sudatel (a mobile, fixed and Internet services provider in Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

), and Qtel (Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

-based telecommunications services provider).

Free Libyana – Libya


The Emirati government, as part of its support to the National Transitional Council
National Transitional Council
The National Transitional Council of Libya , sometimes known as the Transitional National Council, the Interim National Council, or the Libyan National Council,...

 in the course of the 2011 Libyan civil war
2011 Libyan civil war
The 2011 Libyan civil war was an armed conflict in the North African state of Libya, fought between forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and those seeking to oust his government. The war was preceded by protests in Benghazi beginning on 15 February 2011, which led to clashes with security...

, requested that Etisalat assist the NTC restore mobile communications to the rebel-held areas of Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, which had been cut off by the government of Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

. Etisalat provided the equipment needed to restore the main mobile network of Libyana
Libyana
Libyana was a Libyan mobile phone company established in 2004. It was one of two mobile phone operators owned by the General Posts and Telecommunications Company .Muhammad Gaddafi, the eldest son of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, was the chairman...

, the primary carrier in the country, to full capacity, and obtained a Tripoli-based database of phone numbers gives them information necessary to patch existing Libyana customers and phone numbers into their new system—which has been dubbed "Free Libyana
Free Libyana
Free Libyana or Libyana Al Hura is a mobile telephone network in Eastern Libya. It was created during the 2011 Libyan civil war by disconnecting part of the Libyana mobile phone network from its central control in Tripoli and placing it under new control as an independent network.-External links:*...

." It includes a satellite feed through which the Free Libyana calls can be routed.

Mobily – Saudi Arabia



One of Etisalat's first international investments was the bid to become the second mobile services operator in Saudi Arabia. Etihad Etisalat, a consortium led by Etisalat, won the 2G
2G
2G is short for second-generation wireless telephone technology. Second generation 2G cellular telecom networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja in 1991...

 GSM license by offering US$ $3.25 billion. Currently operating under the brand name Mobily
Mobily
Mobily is the trade name of Saudi Arabia's second Telecommunications company, Etihad-Etisalat consortium . The company, as the winning bidder for Saudi Arabia's second GSM licence, provides mobile telecom services nationwide, breaking Saudi Telecom's monopoly in the wireless business...

, Etihad Etisalat offers Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 subscribers conventional and 3.5G mobile telephony services, and has floated shares on the Saudi stock market.

PTCL – Pakistan


Among the acquisitions of Etisalat in 2005 was a 26% management stake in Pakistan Telecommunications
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited is the largest telecommunication company in Pakistan.The company provides telephony services nation-wide and is the backbone for country's telecommunication infrastructure despite arrival of a dozen other telecommunication comanies, including giants like...

 (PTCL) that was put on sale by the Government of Pakistan
Government of Pakistan
The Government of Pakistan is a federal parliamentary system, with an indirectly-elected President as the Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Pakistani Armed Forces, and an indirectly-elected Prime Minister as the Head of Government. The President’s appointment and term are...

 as part of a large privatization initiative. In order to outbid competitors (which included Singapore Telecommunications
Singapore Telecommunications
Singapore Telecommunications Limited , commonly abbreviated as SingTel, is a Singaporean telecommunications company, with a combined mobile subscriber base of 416 million customers from its own operations and regional associates in 25 countries at end of June 2011 increased by 19 percent from a...

 and China Mobile
China Mobile
China Mobile Limited is a Chinese state-owned telecommunication company that provides mobile voice and multimedia services through its nationwide mobile telecommunications network, the largest of its kind in the world...

), Etisalat offered USD $2.56 billion for the stake. According to some analysts, the telecom has overpaid, as the bid went far beyond the estimated USD $2 billion value of the package.

Etisalat Egypt


In July 2006, a consortium led by Etisalat was granted the rights to develop Egypt's third mobile network, with a winning bid of 16.7 billion Egyptian pound
Egyptian pound
The Egyptian Pound is the currency of Egypt. It is divided into 100 Qirsh , or 1,000 Milliemes ....

s (EUR €2.29 billion euro). The venture, Etisalat Egypt
Etisalat Egypt
Etisalat Egypt is a subsidiary of Etisalat U.A.E., the sole telecommunications services provider in the United Arab Emirates from 1976 until the arrival of Du in February 2007, and the first 3.5G network operator in Egypt. Etisalat Misr is one of 18 service providers managed by Etisalat in the...

, competes with existing service providers Vodafone
Vodafone Egypt
Vodafone Egypt is Egypt's largest mobile network operator. It was launched in 1998 and was formerly known as Click GSM.-About Vodafone Egypt:Vodafone Egypt is a telecommunications service and product provider. It was established in 1998...

 and Mobinil
Mobinil
Mobinil is one of Egypt's three mobile phone operators. Founded in 1998. The company is majority-owned and fully consolidated by France Télécom , which holds 71.25% of the shares in "Mobinil Telecom," the rest of the shares being held by Orascom Telecom...

. On 12 September 2006, it was announced that the network would be built by Ericsson
Ericsson
Ericsson , one of Sweden's largest companies, is a provider of telecommunication and data communication systems, and related services, covering a range of technologies, including especially mobile networks...

 of Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, and Huawei
Huawei
Huawei is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China...

 of China, at a cost of approximately USD $1.2 billion.

In 2007, at the Comms MEA Awards ceremony Etisalat was presented with the ‘Best New Entrant’ award for its Egyptian operations. Award winners were selected by a panel of experts from KPMG, the Arab Advisors Group and Oliver Wyman, Dubai.

Canar – Sudan


Etisalat is one of the founding partner companies of Canar Telecom, a fixed-line telecom services operator. In September 2007 Etisalat has raised its stake in Canar from 37% to 82% at an estimated cost of AED 584.17 million (USD $159 million).

Canar was launched on 27 November 2005. The operator is reported to use NGN and Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
Wireless local loop
Wireless local loop , is a term for the use of a wireless communications link as the "last mile / first mile" connection for delivering plain old telephone service and/or broadband Internet to telecommunications customers....

 technologies for its voice, data, internet and multimedia services. Canar is one of the first operators in Africa to use an NGN network core.

EMTS – Nigeria


Etisalat signed an agreement to acquire 40% of and manage Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services, Nigeria’s fifth GSM operator. It is now operating with about 5 million Subscribers, and recently signed an agreement with Main One cable company to launch one of the first major broadband service in Nigeria. It became a household name

Zantel – Tanzania


ETISALAT bought 65% of Zantel Tanzania's shares and are joint owners with The government of Zanzibar (18%) and Meeco International of Tanzania (17%). Zantel has grown rapidly are the take over by ETISALAT and as of June 2007 they were the fastest growing operator in the region. Zantel has its own international gateway and was the first to reduce rates on international calls by 60%. Zantel was the first to introduce wireless internet in Tanzania Zantel was the first to introduce per second billing in Tanzania Zantel offers Internet and High Speed Data Network in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar

Atlantique Telecom/Moov – West Africa


In Africa, Etisalat acquired 50% of Atlantique Telecom’s shares in April 2005. Based in the Ivory Coast, AT owns mobile operators in Benin, Burkina Faso, Togo, Niger, Central African Republic, Gabon and Ivory Coast. In 2007, Etisalat increased its shares in AT to 70% and again in May 2008, to 82%. AT group subscribers totaled 2.9 million at the end of 2007, which is a 107% increase from of Benin, honoured Etisalat chairman, Mohammad Hassan Omran during a ceremony to celebrate Etisalat’s efforts in developing and promoting the telecommunications sector in Benin.

XL Axiata – Indonesia


Indonesia-based mobile services operator PT XL Axiata (formerly PT Excelcomindo Pratama)
Excelcomindo
PT XL Axiata Tbk, Doing business as XL , is an Indonesia-based mobile telecommunications services operator. The operator's coverage includes Java, Bali, and Lombok as well as the principal cities in and around Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi...

 is Etisalat’s first acquisition in the Far East. In December 2007 Etisalat took a 15.97% stake after paying USD $438 million (AED 1.6 billion). At the time of the acquisition XL had 15 million mobile subscribers. As of Q2 2011, Axiata's mobile subscribers are about 38.8m.

Etisalat – Afghanistan


Etisalat Afghanistan is a newly established GSM operator, 100% owned by Etisalat. It was established in May 2006 after the UAE telecom won the license to operate the fourth mobile services provider in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Etisalat's bid for the license was USD $1.2 billion (AED 4.4 billion) and services were launched in August 2007. Etisalat Afghanistan operates out of Kabul
Kabul
Kabul , spelt Caubul in some classic literatures, is the capital and largest city of Afghanistan. It is also the capital of the Kabul Province, located in the eastern section of Afghanistan...

 and as of 3 March 2010, the company has achieved 24 per cent market share in 27 provinces of Afghanistan.

Etisalat – Iran (canceled)


In January 2009 Etisalat in consortium with Tamin Telecom (a subsidiary of the Iranian Social Security Organization (SSO)) won the bid for running the third mobile services operator in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The license included an exclusive two-year agreement for 3G
3G
3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

 services provisioning, but in Sep 2009 the licence was revoked and given to its local partner, Tamin Telecom.

Etisalat had planned to invest over $5 billion (AED 18.39 billion) over a period of five years, but following the license suspension all plans for launching operation in Iran have been put on hold.

Etisalat – Sri Lanka


Etisalat acquired the Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

n Operation of Millicom International Cellular
Millicom
Millicom International Cellular, also known as Tigo, is a mobile phone network provider in America and Africa. Based in Luxembourg, the company provides mobile services in 14 countries. With operations across Central America, South America, South-east Asia, and Africa, using GSM, CDMA and TDMA on...

 (MIC), Tigo (Sri Lanka) on 16 October 2009. The acquisition was completed with a total enterprise value of 207 Million US$, out of which 155 Million US$ was in cash.

Tigo (Sri Lanka) under the then brand name CELLTEL started operations in June 1989 on a Motorola TACS system and was the first cellular operator in Sri Lanka as well as South Asia. In January 2007, Millicom replaced the local CELLTEL brand with Tigo, their international brand. In February 2010, Tigo was rebranded as Etisalat.

Etisalat Lanka operates a GSM/EDGE
Edge
- Aviation :* Leading edge, a line connecting the forward-most points of a wing's profile* Trailing edge, the rear edge of the wing* Zivko Edge 540, an aerobatic aircraft- Mathematics, science and technology :...

 supported network using 900 / 1800 MHz. The company on 5 May 2011 launched HSPA+ services over 2100 MHz, becoming the first LTE
3GPP Long Term Evolution
3GPP Long Term Evolution, usually referred to as LTE, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using new modulation techniques...

 ready mobile network in the country.

Etisalat – India


In 2009 Etisalat has announced that its Indian unit, erstwhile Swan Telecom (owned by Dynamix Balwas Realty
DB Realty
DB Realty is one of India's largest real estate developer based in Mumbai, and is the flagship company of DB Group DB Realty Limited builds residential, commercial and gated community developments...

 and Reliance Communications), headquartered in Mumbai, is renamed to Etisalat DB Telecom India Pvt. Ltd The business unit has been awarded Unified Services Access License in 15 circles – Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu (including Chennai), Uttar Pradesh (East), Uttar Pradesh (West), Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. In April 2010 Etisalat began signal testing in Chennai [IND 922], Delhi & NCR [IND 913], Maharashtra & Goa [IND 919], Mumbai [IND 916] and Gujarat[IND 914]. In May 2010, Etisalat was in talks to buy 25% stake in Reliance Communications
Reliance Communications
Reliance Communications Ltd. is an Indian broadband and telecommunications company headquartered in Navi Mumbai, India. RCOM is the world's 16th largest mobile phone operator with over 144 million subscribers. Established on 2004, a subsidiary of the Reliance Group...

, but the deal was not finalised.

In 2010, following the $39 billion 2G spectrum scam
2G spectrum scam
The 2G spectrum scandal involved officials in the government of India illegally undercharging mobile telephony companies for frequency allocation licenses, which they would use to create 2G subscriptions for cell phones...

, Etisalat DB, the Indian subsidiary of the company, was stopped from buying a stake in a Chennai-based company due to objections raised by the Ministry of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs (India)
Ministry of Home Affairs , known as the Home Ministry or MHA, is an Indian government ministry. It is an interior ministry mainly responsible for the maintenance of Internal security and domestic policy.-Ministerial Team:...

 (MHA). Etisalat DB was not allowed to buy back the 5.27 per cent stake held by Chennai-based Genex Exim Ventures since the home ministry raised objections based largely on security concerns. The MHA had pointed out four issues that needed to be resolved before allowing the company to come into Etisalat DB, a company that got scarce 2G spectrum at allegedly throwaway prices.
  1. The vice chairman, Shahid Balwa
    Shahid Balwa
    Shahid Usman Balwa is an entrepreneur based in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. He is one of the Promoters of Mumbai-based DB Group which runs DB Realty India's 3rd largest realtor, DB Hospitality and Swan Telecom .-Early life:...

     should not be involved in the operations of the company in any capacity, because of his connections with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim
    Dawood Ibrahim
    Dawood Ibrahim , also known as Dawood Ebrahim, and Sheikh Dawood Hassan, is the head of the organized crime syndicate [[D-Company]] in Mumbai. He is currently on the wanted list of Interpol for organised crime and counterfeiting. He was No. 4 on the Forbes' World's Top 10 most dreaded criminals...

    ,.
  2. The MHA raised objections about the commercial relationship between the Dubai-based Etisalat Group and China's Huawei
    Huawei
    Huawei is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China...

    . The MHA suspects, Huawei has links with China's People's Liberation Army – the country's military organisation of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces – and has the capacity to manipulate equipment supply.
  3. It raised objections about Etisalat's presence in Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

     and it's connection with Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI
    Inter-Services Intelligence
    The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

    . Etisalat owns a 26% stake in Pakistan Telecommunications
    Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd
    Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited is the largest telecommunication company in Pakistan.The company provides telephony services nation-wide and is the backbone for country's telecommunication infrastructure despite arrival of a dozen other telecommunication comanies, including giants like...

     and has a subscriber base of 3 million in Afghanistan.
  4. The MHA has also expressed concerns about the telecom surveillance software Etisalat had used in a Blackberry service it had introduced in the UAE and recommended that the company should not be allowed to offer Blackberry services in India.

Etisalat UAE


Etisalat UAE is headquartered in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

 and includes three regional offices – Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

, Dubai
Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

, and Northern Emirates.

Abu Dhabi Region

Key positions:
  • Etisalat Chairman : Mohamed Hassan Omran
  • Etisalat A/CEO: Nasser Bin Abood
  • Senior Vice President Marketing : Khalifa Al Forah Al Shamsi
  • Group Senior Vice President – corporate Communications : Ahmed Bin Ali


In the UAE, Etisalat operates where mobile penetration is already among the highest in the world "200%",
Etisalat became known for its efforts to roll out its Fibre-To-The-Home (FTTH) network in the UAE. By the end of 2009 Etisalat had completed the FTTH roll-out for 85% of households in Abu Dhabi, positioning the UAE’s capital as
the first in the world to be covered by fibre.

The advanced infrastructure allows the utilization of the most advanced technology applications to the UAE market. Its high-speed broadband internet enables users to enjoy multiple high bandwidth applications such as IPTV and online gaming in an integrated single interface for landline, internet and television-based services, providing a truly converged digital home experience to its customers.

The Northern Emirates regional center is based in Sharjah and covers the telecom's operations in the emirates of Ajman
Ajman
Ajman , also spelt Ujman, is one of the seven emirates constituting the United Arab Emirates . With an area of just 260 square kilometres , Ajman is the smallest emirate by area...

, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah
Fujairah
Fujairah is one of the seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, and the only one on the Gulf of Oman in the country's east instead of Persian Gulf .-History:...

 and Ras Al Khaimah.

Internet services


The number of Etisalat's Internet subscribers reportedly stands at 1.02 million.

Some of the Internet services for home users that Etisalat offers include:
  • 3G
    3G
    3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 specifications by the International Telecommunication Union...

     Mobile Internet access
  • Broadband Internet
    Broadband Internet access
    Broadband Internet access, often shortened to just "broadband", is a high data rate, low-latency connection to the Internet— typically contrasted with dial-up access using a 56 kbit/s modem or satellite Internet with inherently high latency....

     services (Al Shamil and eLife)
  • Prepaid and post-paid dialup Internet access


Etisalat also operates iZone, a system of Wi-FI hotspots
Hotspot (Wi-Fi)
A hotspot is a site that offers Internet access over a wireless local area network through the use of a router connected to a link to an Internet service provider...

 in central locations, such as shopping malls, restaurants, and sheesha
Hookah
A hookah A hookah(Gujarati હૂકાહ) A hookah(Gujarati હૂકાહ) (Hindustani: हुक़्क़ा (Devanagari, (Nastaleeq) huqqah) also known as a waterpipe or narghile, is a single or multi-stemmed (often glass-based) instrument for smoking in which the smoke is cooled by water. The tobacco smoked is referred to...

 cafes. iZone can be accessed by either purchasing prepaid cards (AED 15/hour, USD $4.5/hour), or if using an existing account with the operator (AED 3/hour for dial-up account holders, or AED 10/hour for broadband users).

Dial-up and ISDN Internet access services are billed by the hour, whereas the domestic and residential cable and DSL connections have a fixed monthly rate depending on speed. Other Internet links, aimed at business users, have traffic utilization plans and relatively high rates when exceeding the allocated bandwidth quota. This has caused bad publicity for Etisalat and is a major source of criticism.

Internet censorship


Etisalat operates an Internet content filtering system that blocks access to web resources. The web resources are claimed to be controversial or offensive (i.e. sexually explicit content, certain political and religious websites, anonymizers and proxies) or harmful (i.e. numeric IP addresses, known phishing
Phishing
Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT...

 or malicious websites, botnet
Botnet
A botnet is a collection of compromised computers connected to the Internet. Termed "bots," they are generally used for malicious purposes. When a computer becomes compromised, it becomes a part of a botnet...

 command servers). The use of content filtering is mandated by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

.

The type of content that is restricted by Etisalat includes:
  • Pornography
    Internet pornography
    Internet pornography is pornography that is distributed by means of various sectors of the Internet, primarily via websites, peer-to-peer file sharing, or Usenet newsgroups...

    , nudity
    Nudity
    Nudity is the state of wearing no clothing. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic. The amount of clothing worn depends on functional considerations and social considerations...

     and sexually explicit content.
  • The entire Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

     country code top-level domain
    Country code top-level domain
    A country code top-level domain is an Internet top-level domain generally used or reserved for a country, a sovereign state, or a dependent territory....

     (.il
    .il
    .il is the Internet country code top-level domain of Israel. It is administered by the Israel Internet Association.The .il top-level domain is one of the earliest registered ccTLDs...

    )
  • Certain media-sharing websites
  • Anti-Islamic
    Criticism of Islam
    Criticism of Islam has existed since Islam's formative stages. Early written criticism came from Christians, prior to the ninth century, many of whom viewed Islam as a radical Christian heresy...

     websites.
  • Websites criticizing the United Arab Emirates (such as UAEprison and Arab Times
    Arab Times (US)
    Arab Times is the largest Arab-American newspaper, published in the US since 1986 .- Background :The Arab Times newspaper was founded by Dr. Osama Fawzi in Houston, Texas and first published in print form in 1986...

    )
  • Anonymous proxy
    Proxy server
    In computer networks, a proxy server is a server that acts as an intermediary for requests from clients seeking resources from other servers. A client connects to the proxy server, requesting some service, such as a file, connection, web page, or other resource available from a different server...

     sites (such as vtunnel, pzeg, etc.)
  • Gay and Lesbian Rights
    LGBT
    LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

     websites (such as Gaydar
    Gaydar (website)
    Gaydar is a worldwide, profile-based dating website for gay and bisexual men, women and couples over the age of 18. Although many of the individual profiles are publicly accessible on the Internet, to gain more functionality and interact with other users, a registration is required and a guest...

    , Mogenic etc.)
  • Numerical IP address
    IP address
    An Internet Protocol address is a numerical label assigned to each device participating in a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing...

     links (for example, http://10.11.1.1/)
  • Voice over IP services providers' websites (such as Skype
    Skype
    Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video calls and chat over the Internet. Calls to other users within the Skype service are free, while calls to both traditional landline telephones and mobile phones can be made for a fee using a debit-based user account system...

    , Vonage
    Vonage
    Vonage is a publicly held commercial voice over IP network and SIP company that provides telephone service via a broadband connection. The company's name is a play on their motto "Voice-Over-Net-AGE"....

    )


There are claims that Etisalat breaks the rules of net neutrality by throttling peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer
Peer-to-peer computing or networking is a distributed application architecture that partitions tasks or workloads among peers. Peers are equally privileged, equipotent participants in the application...

, gaming and other types of network traffic in order to reduce the load on its oversubscribed international links. The effect of this interference is most noticeable during weekends or periods of high network use.

The overall efficiency of the country-wide content filtering is unclear, as many of the technologically savvy users have discovered tools and methods to bypass the content filter, such as using Tor
Tor (anonymity network)
Tor is a system intended to enable online anonymity. Tor client software routes Internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers in order to conceal a user's location or usage from someone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis...

.

BlackBerry controversy


In July 2009, Etisalat pushed an update to BlackBerry
BlackBerry
BlackBerry is a line of mobile email and smartphone devices developed and designed by Canadian company Research In Motion since 1999.BlackBerry devices are smartphones, designed to function as personal digital assistants, portable media players, internet browsers, gaming devices, and much more...

 devices operating on the telecom's national network, citing performance improvements. However, it was later discovered that the update contained eavesdropping software, developed by the US-based software development company SS8, which specializes in electronic surveillance. It is reported that the software enabled the company to monitor and forward communications on BlackBerry devices to their servers.

Research in Motion, BlackBerry's developer, acknowledged that the patch was a form of spyware, and issued a removal patch on 20 July.

On 27 December 2009, both Etisalat and Du (telco)
Du (telco)
The Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company is a telecommunications company in the United Arab Emirates. Although Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company is its legal name, it was commercially rebranded as du in February 2006...

 have been mandated by the UAE telecom regulator to start filtering BlackBerry users' web access and block illegal content.

Due to concerns with the security and the provisioning of legal interception for Blackberry non-voice services, on 1 Aug 2010, the Telecommunication Regularity Authority of the UAE instructed Etisalat that all Blackberry e-mail, internet and messenger functions must be suspended on 1 Oct 2010. However, an agreement between Blackberry's developer Research In Motion
Research In Motion
Research In Motion Limited or RIM is a Canadian multinational telecommunications company headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada that designs, manufactures and markets wireless solutions for the worldwide mobile communications market...

 and UAE's telecom regulator has been reached, and the announced BlackBerry services suspension has been canceled.

Blackberry Services currently do not work over WIFI and have been blocked by Etisalat. There is no clarification from the provider on this. Web Services using the browser function but blackberry messenger and email does not connect to blackberry servers over WIFI connections

Acquisition of PTCL and Parliamentary Inquiry


The National Assembly (NA) Standing Committee on IT and Telecom criticized PTCL’s administration over its inability to fulfil obligations made to the government. On 20 December 2010, the committee met under the chairmanship of Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir
Chaudhry Muhammad Barjees Tahir
Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir is a prominent national politician and a parliamentarian from Pakistan Muslim League...

, at the parliament house to probe into the privatization of PTCL. After hearing the officials of both the ministries, the committee declared that despite having outstanding financial portfolio, PTCL was privatized to an entity which did not fulfill contractual obligations despite the grant of concessions by the government.

On 01 Jan 2011, The Federal Minister for Privatisation Senator Waqar Ahmed Khan Wednesday revealed before the National Assembly that the privatization deal of PTCL with Etisalat
Etisalat
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa...

  was not transparent and made in violation of rules and procedures.

“The part of the privatisation of PTCL was not transparent. It was made in violation of the rules and procedures, said the minister replied to a question, and later, the House referred the matter to the National Assembly Standing Committee on Privatisation for sin.

It was told to the House that the SPA is completed and the transaction was made without the privatization of the Commission Council in confidence, adding that Etisalat
Etisalat
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa...

 800 million U.S. dollars has kept the sport of land issue be transferred to the UAE-based company. Also, it was found out that around 3,500 properties were to be transferred to Etisalat which also comprise lands not even owned by federal or any provincial government rather either those are private properties are under litigation.

In June 2005, Etisalat
Etisalat
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa...

 $2.6 billion bid beat those of Singapore Telecom and China mobile for the purchase of a 26 per cent stake in PTCL, Pakistan’s telecom operator. Etisalat has management control with 26 per cent shares of PTCL, which was in 2006 for US$2.6 billion and is withholding $ 799,000,000 worth of initial payments to the Pakistani Government, part of the company’s 2006 properties with the acquisition in PTCL registered in name.

The Performance under control to Etisalat
Etisalat
Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, branded trade name Etisalat is a UAE based telecommunications services provider, currently operating in 18 countries across Asia, the Middle East and Africa...

, PtCl wealth declined. For four years, before privatization, profit after tax increased from approximately 18 billion to more than 27 billion rupees, which is the rate corresponding to 11 percent annually.

The committee expressed its reservations over the entire privatization process and said, “it seems as if the previous government wanted to get rid of PTCL which was a profit earning entity at the time of its privatisation.”

The committee also expressed reservations over the exclusion of Telephone Industries of Pakistan from the privatization process, which was a subsidiary of PTCL.

Matter is still under investigation by the committee under his chairmanship and house is waiting for the committee's report.

External links

  • http://www.etisalat.ae (Official portal of Etisalat UAE)
  • http://www.ptcl.com.pk (Official portal of Pakistan Telecom Company)
  • http://www.evision.ae/ (Etisalat Cable and Multimedia)
  • http://www.emarine.ae (eMarine – Submarine Cable Laying Unit)
  • http://www.ebtikar.ae (Ebtikar Card Systems)
  • http://www.technologiaworld.com/ (Software Arm of Etisalat UAE)
  • http://www.ea.ae (Etisalat Academy)
  • http://www.etisalat.com.eg/ (Etisalat Egypt)
  • http://www.mobily.com.sa/ (Mobily – Etisalat in KSA)
  • http://www.etisalat.af/ (Etisalat Afghanistan)
  • http://www.canar.sd/ (Canar – Etisalat in Sudan)
  • http://www.weyak.ae/ (Etisalat’s entertainment portal)
  • http://www.moov.com/ (Atlantique Telecom's brand in West Africa)
  • http://www.etisalat.com.ng/ (Etisalat Nigeria)
  • http://www.ece.ac.ae/index.html (Etisalat University College)
  • http://www.atlantiquetelecom.com/ (Atlantique Telecom)
  • http://www.etisalat.lk/ (etisalat Sri Lanka)
  • http://www.cheersmobile.in/index.html (etisalat India)
  • http://telecomtalk.info/etisalat-to-launch-gsm-mobile-services-under-the-brand-name-cheers/23471/