Etisalat is the Middle East’s leading telecommunications operator and one of the largest corporations in the six Arab countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with a market value of approximately Dh81 billion (US$22 billion) and annual revenues of over Dh32.9 billion (US$9 billion).
A multinational, blue-chip organisation, Etisalat has operations in 18 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Nearly 42,000 people are directly employed by the company.
Etisalat’s international acquisition programme began in earnest in 2004 when it won the second mobile license – the first third-generation (3G) mobile license – in Saudi Arabia. Since then, the company has witnessed rapid expansion that has positioned it as one of the world’s fastest growing operators, with subscribers rocketing around 3,475 per cent from four million in 2004 to 141 million in 2013.
For nearly 40 years, Etisalat has helped the UAE sustain a position as the region’s main hub for business, trade and foreign investment by providing reliable and high quality services. It is one of the global telecommunication industry’s innovation pacesetters, powering its home country, the UAE, into the top ten nations list by providing the latest technologies first. In 2010 for example, thanks to Etisalat, the UAE was one of the first five countries in the world with a 3D television service, known as eLife, offered across its fiber optic network.
Etisalat is a pioneer in next-generation networks for both fixed-line and wireless services and it has deployed enough fiber-optic cable in the UAE to reach from the earth to the moon eight times. Etisalat is in the process of launching fourth-generation long-term evolution (4G LTE) networks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and it currently owns the Middle East’s fastest fixed-line broadband network with speeds of up to 30 mega-bits per second (Mbps). As an industry leader in innovation, Etisalat has trialed the world’s fastest mobile broadband service with speeds up to 300 Mbps.
This technological expertise has helped Etisalat to capture significant market share as it expands across the region, most notably in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where the introduction of mobile broadband services, including video call and mobile television, has changed the market dynamics and provided affordable Internet access for millions.
Etisalat is pioneering several advanced "green" technologies and is a regional leader in providing environmentally-friendly information and communication solutions. This includes smart building technologies, the latest Machine-to-Machine (M2M) solutions and the deployment of alternative power within its regional networks. Etisalat is ensuring that its infrastructure meets the highest international standards and its nationwide fiber-optic network in the UAE is expected to reduce carbon emissions by over 80 per cent and energy consumption by over 70 per cent.
By partnering with many governments and non-government organizations to increase access to education and health care through technology, Etisalat is committed to the principles of corporate social responsibility. And the company is well-known for its support of people with special needs. It was a shortlisted finalist in the 2011 Global Mobile Awards for its visual contact centre service which uses 3G technology and sign language to provide support to the hearing impaired. Etisalat won another three awards in this prestigious competition in 2012 and followed the success this year when Flous, a commercial application for conducting financial transactions, won.
Etisalat is rated by Aa3 by Moody's, AA- by Standard & Poor's and A+ by Fitch Ratings, giving it some of the highest ratings for a telecommunications company anywhere in the world. This reflects the company’s strong balance sheet, low debt position and proven long-term performance.
Etisalat reported net revenues of Dh32.9 billion (US$9 billion) and net profit of Dh13.2 billion (US$3.6 billion) for 2012 rank it as one of the most profitable telecoms group in the world.
Etisalat has been named ‘Best Overall Operator’ in the Middle East ten times since 2006 and "Best Wholesale Provider" four times in the last three years. It has won numerous accolades for its innovative marketing, being awarded for having the "Best Brand", "Best Customer Service" and "Best CSR Programme". Etisalat’s management team is also well-celebrated with its Chairman, Eissa Al Suwaidi, among the most influential businessmen in the UAE.