Etisalat in talks over Benin spat

Telecoms

Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (Etisalat) said on Monday its African unit would open talks with Benin's government this week to try to resolve a dispute that forced it to suspend its mobile phone services.

Benin's telecoms regulator suspended the networks of two of the country's four mobile phone operators on Thursday, including that of Atlantique Telecom, a 70-%-owned subsidiary of Etisalat, the third-largest Gulf Arab telecom firm by market value.

The West African country shut down the networks of Atlantique and South Africa's MTN because they did not sign new contracts including a $50 million, 500 % rise in the operator fee by Thursday evening.

Etisalat has 340,000 mobile phone customers in Benin, a country of eight million people. "We are confident that we will be able to address the questions posed to us by the Benin authorities and therefore shorten the inconvenience for our customers," Etisalat Chairman Mohammad Omran said in a statement to Reuters.

(Source: Reuters)