UAE telco du plays down Saudi report

Operator says media report it is exploring MVNO opportunity is wide of the mark
Recent media reports suggested that Du was interested in acquiring an MVNO licence in KSA.
Recent media reports suggested that Du was interested in acquiring an MVNO licence in KSA.

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UAE telco du has played down reports that it is studying the possibility of expanding into Saudi Arabia as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO).

CEO Osman Sultan was reported as saying on Monday that the firm is looking at opportunities to grow its business outside of its home market.

“We always keep an eye on any opportunities that might be in the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” the operator said in an emailed statement.

“Our strategy is, and as always has been, to focus on the UAE. If and when we have anything new to announce, we will communicate details to the market,” it added.

The company's clarification followed a media report the day before which suggested du was interested in an upcoming MVNO auction in Saudi Arabia. Since its founding in 2007, du has focused solely on the UAE market.

“We are open to any opportunity in the changing world of telecom,” Sultan had told newswire Bloomberg.

“We keep our eyes open and in this respect we are looking at any opportunity including MVNOs in any country. We study this but no decision has been taken so far.”

It is “premature to comment, even if we decide to bid or not” he said. “We are studying that, like we will study any other opportunities.”

MVNO operators do not have their own telecommunications infrastructure and typically rely on other carriers’ networks to serve customers.

The Abu Dhabi-based telco announced last week that its first quarter net profit before royalty increased 61.8 percent as mobile revenues more than doubled.

The operator said net income for the first three months of the year increased to AED666m (US$181m) from AED412m a year earlier.

The company, which competes with Etisalat, added 320,600 mobile subscriptions in the first quarter, bringing the total number of mobile lines to 5.5m

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