The UAE-based telco Etisalat has its sights set on becoming the largest cellular operator in Saudi Arabia within four years, despite still being months away from its network launch. The firm’s CEO, Khaled Al-Kaf, told the local newspaper Okaz: “We expect to have 36 percent share in the first year of operation. Within the next three to four years it would reach more than 60 percent and we’ll have the lion’s share.” He also outlined his main target markets: “We are now studying the market to know the requirements of Saudi youth and businessmen, as well as expatriates.” Al-Kaf says Etisalat will not wage a price war with the incumbent operator STC but will compete on quality of service.
Etisalat won the auction for Saudi Arabia’s second cellular licence last year and plans to launch its first services under the brand name Mobily in 14 cities by June. It is hoping to have coverage of 32 cities and the country’s main highways by the end of the year. It has also signed a nationwide roaming agreement with STC, which has built up a base of around 8.5 million subscribers since its own launch in 1981.