UAE-based telecoms operator Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has said it is open to partnerships or acquiring new licences in its efforts to expand its presence in overseas markets, Reuters reports. Ahmed bin Ali, Etisalat’s senior vice president for corporate communications, said that opportunities for available mergers and acquisitions are shrinking, despite an ongoing need for consolidation within the industry. He added that the company, which operates in 18 countries, has enough reserve cash to buy another operator, if the opportunity meets its investment strategy. ‘There’s a chance of consolidation (but) if this is not available, the right model for most of the market is partnering or alliances between operators where they can benefit from economies of scale, resources and technology,’ Ali noted. Etisalat’s global subscriber base exceeded 140 million at the end of June 2011, an increase of 20% year-on-year, driven predominately by international operations.