Etisalat, Du in network sharing talks

1 Jun 2009

The United Arab Emirates’ two telecoms operators, Etisalat and Du, are in negotiations to share network infrastructure, reports Bloomberg. Osman Sultan, CEO of Du, said his company plans to spend USD545 million on mobile and fixed line network upgrades this year, and is hoping to forge an agreement with its rival to offset some of the associated costs in light of the current economic downturn. The cellco recently revealed plans to launch advanced IPTV-based services in Dubai in the coming months, including HDTV and Video-on-Demand (VoD) applications, following the completion of its core IP network upgrade to 40Gbps.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Etisalat is 60%-owned by the state, with the remainder held by local investors. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance owns 40% of rival operator Du, with the Abu Dhabi Mubadala Development Company and Tecom Investment (a government investment body) owning 20% each. The remaining 20% was purchased by private Emirati investors following an IPO in April 2006.