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ETISALAT - National day 2001

posted on 01/12/2001: 2209 views

Since the establishment of the Emirates Telecommunications Corporation, ETISALAT, in 1976, the Corporation has made series of achievements, which placed the UAE among the best countries in terms of the provision of advanced telecommunication services at affordable prices. To celebrate its silver jubilee, which fell last September, ETISALAT made a series of price cuts in its services which made its prices the lowest in the Middle East region. The last few years has reiterated that telecommunication is the best way to produce and spread knowledge.

Being the infrastructure of the advanced countries, Information Technology, IT, has proven to be the most reliable and effective investment, capable of dominating at the institutional, social and national levels. In his statement to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the UAE's National Day, Ali Salim Al Owais, ETISALAT Director General, said that the great achievements ETISALAT realised in the UAE reflects the success of the country's development strategy, aimed at variating the country's source of revenue, by getting alternative to oil revenue, adding that figures available bear witness to the great achievement realised in the telecommunications sector, being a purely national sector under national administration.

ETISALAT which provides various telecommunications services, including telephone, fax, voice mail, GSM, WAP, internet, e-commerce and cable vision services has increased its number of lines throughout the country from 36 thousand lines in 1976 to more than 1.1 million fixed lines, This placed the UAE among the countries with the highest average of 36 fixed lines for every 100 persons, while the number of GSM users reached 1.7 million, an average of 50 lines for every hundred persons, also one of the highest in the world, while the number of internet subscribers in the country also stood at around 250,000 by the end of August 2001.

The number of ETISALAT branches throughout the country rose from 28 in 1976 to 256 by August 2001, while the number of countries with international direct dialling, IDD, services with the UAE rose to 256 from 36 in 1976. The number of departments with IDD services increased from 340 in 1976 to more than 35,000 by August 2001, while departments with telecommunication links reached 287,000 departments from 302 departments in 1976. Within this period, ETISALAT has also greatly improved all its outlets in the country, using 100 per cent digital technology and boosting its local and international telecommunications with a network of optical fibres, which helps in providing high quality service.

In March 1991, ETISALAT got the right to provide wire and wireless services. ETISALAT was also given the authority to issue licenses for the possession, importation, using and operation of telecommunications equipment and to improve the telecommunications system in the country. Now ETISALAT has become the biggest telecommunications company in the Arab world and the second biggest business company after the Saudi Company, SABEC.

According to Al Owais, one of the major factors behind ETISALAT's success was its being a corporate body with good administration. He said ETISALAT's capital was about DH3billion, 60 per cent of which is owned by the UAE government, while the remaining 40 per cent belongs to the private sector. In 1999, ETISALAT's revenue reached DH7billion, after recording DH5billion in the previous year. The Corporation made a DH2.86 billion profit in 2000, in addition to other revenues of about DH280 million.

In 2000, ETISALAT shareholders received a profit totaling DH1.4 billion, while DH300million was diverted to the Corporation's development coffers, another DH300million to its capital renewal reserve and DH350million to its general reserve coffers. Early this month, ETISALAT donated DH98million to the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme, bringing to DH312million the total amount of money ETISALAT donated to the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme.

ETISALAT also paid to the federal government a total amount of DH1.894billion, being a federal privilege for the year2001. In its efforts to enter the new millennium with new ideas and plans, to meet the challenges of the new century, Al Owais said that his company had taken a giant step towards changing all of its local telephone networks at a total cost of DH6billion, adding that the exercise will be completed in a four-year time.

He said that DH4.1billion had been set aside for capital spendings for the next two years. This amount will cover, among other things, expansion and modernisation works on a number of ETISALAT branches, which offers GSM, smart and e-commerce network, internet and multimedia services, and to increase the capacity of the GSM network to cover 2.5million subscribers. Al Owais pointed out that ETISALAT was evaluating the technology of a third generation of Siemens mobile phones, conducting various test on them before approving them in the year 2003. On the country's Emiratisation programme, the ETISALAT Director General said that his Corporation had achieved a unique result on the programme. He said the number of UAE nationals working in ETISALAT was 3,429. This, he said, represents 36 per cent of the total number of ETISALAT employees as at September2001, adding that UAE nationals form 70 per cent of ETISALAT's senior officials as at the same time.

On September1, 2001, ETISALAT made various price cuts on IDD calls to 225 countries. ETISALAT also made a 46 per cent cut of GSM services prices on September19, cutting subscription price from DH340 to DH185. This includes connection, SIM Card and annual rent charges, while the annual rent renewal charge was cut to DH100 from DH200. The Emirates Internet and Multimedia, which is ETISALAT's Internet unit, has won great admiration from its numerous customers, inside the country and abroad, for its unique services. The Economist business magazine placed the UAE at 18th position on the list of countries of the world with good Internet services. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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