MEA OPERATORS IN 2006: NET ADDITIONS IN THE YEAR

Telecoms

African companies dominate the Middle-East and Africa region. In terms of annual net additions, we find that no fewer than 22 companies managed to add one million or more customers in 2006. Of these, 14 managed to add 2m or more, while six increased their bases by 3m or more. This strong growth was well spread around the region, with companies from Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Tanzania (to name but some of the markets) all contributing.

For the second quarter running, Globacom heads the list, with 5.8m new customers year on year, just ahead of TCI, which was fourth at the end of the September quarter. This move up the ranks was facilitated by a spectacular fourth quarter, when the Iranian market leader added 2.5m new customers, taking its total for the year to 5.66m. A second Nigerian company is in third place, MTN Nigeria. This was only in tenth place at the end of the third quarter, but it too enjoyed a strong fourth quarter, with 1.9m adds, to give it a total of 3.9m over the year.

Saudi Arabia's Ettihad Etisalat (Mobily) is down one place in fourth, with 3.67m net additions over the year. It has managed to more than double the size of its base this last year. Orascom Algeria, which was in second place in September, fell back to fifth place, with 3.42m, only just ahead of Vodacom South Africa, which added 3.40m despite having culled a number of inactive customers after a redefinition of what constitutes activity.

The two Egyptian operators both come into the top ten this quarter, with MobiNil (+2.57m) just ahead of Vodafone (+2.56m). Close behind them come two other North African businesses, Maroc Telecom and Algerie Telecom, which added 2.5m and 2.4m respectively. MTN South Africa, Atheer from Iraq, STC from Saudi Arabia and V-Mobile of Nigeria were the other 2m+ companies, while Safaricom, Libyana, Wataniya Algeria, Medi Telecom, Vodacom Tanzania, Asia Cell of Iraq, Orascom Iraq and Sonatel from Senegal all recorded net additions of more than 1m in 2006.

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