Atlantique Telecom, an African company with management interest in seven African telecom operators, has announced the official launch of its operations in Cote d'Ivoire. The company will provide GSM services in the country through its subsidiary - Moov Company. UAE's Etisalat owns a 50% stake in Atlantique Telecom.

Mohammad Hassan Omran, Chairman, Etisalat, said: "The launch of operations in Cote d'Ivoire cements Etisalat's commitment to be among the Top 10 telecom operators in the world by 2010. We are leveraging our operations and investments in countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe, following our recent successful entries into Afghanistan and Egypt."

Khaled Al Tenaiji, Group Marketing Manager, Atlantique Telecom, said: "The launch of operations in Cote d'Ivoire comes at a decisive time, as Etisalat sees record success in its international investments and operations. Atlantique Telecom is also experiencing growth in its penetration rates and service portfolio catering to the GSM subscriber in Western Africa, which has some of the lowest mobile penetration rates."

"Launching operations in this African nation will bring benefits for both the local population as well as Etisalat's shareholders. With a population of over 18 million and only 13% mobile penetration, we see tremendous opportunities in this promising market", Al Tenaiji added.

Atlantique becomes the third GSM operator in Cote d’Ivoire behind France Telecom’s Orange and South African operator MTN. Earlier this month Luxembourg-based African operator Comium announced that it had acquired a GSM licence in the country. It will become the fourth operator when it launches, some time in 1Q07.

Khaled Al Tenaiji also unveiled a strategic plan that will, by the end of this year, see Atlantique Telecom using the latest telecom technology and solutions in all countries in which it operates.

Etisalat owns 50 percent of Atlantique Telecom, which works in 7 African countries: Cote d'Ivoire, Benin, Togo, Al Gabon, Republic of Central Africa, Burkina Faso, and Niger. The population for all 7 countries is above 61 million, while the penetration rate is lower than 8%.

Cellular News