There was a lot of discussion here when Airtel entered the market. So much so that we used to receive phone calls asking for employment! Part of what we said then was they hurt themselves by being slow to enter after the announcement. It appears the damage could not be undone. India’s Economic Times said citing two unnamed sources said Standard Chartered was advising Airtel on the sale and the firm was valued at between 110 to 130 million US dollars.
Many of the millions of expatriate workers living in the Gulf are separated from their families. They need to keep in touch. They need to talk. But the cheapest way of the talking has been blocked so far in Dubai. But things change.
A story on fines imposed on Etisalat’s Nigerian affiliate describes its international reach (without mention of the Sri Lankan affiate): It is easy to see why the company continues to look outside its home market despite the risk of complications. Pressed by Dubai’s agile operator, du, Etisalat has seen eroding domestic profits and market share. Meanwhile, revenues from the company’s international operations, driven by strong performance in Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Afghanistan, grew 21 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the same period last year. Etisalat’s international gains helped first-quarter total revenue rise 2 percent to 8.2 billion dirhams, or $2.
Sri Lanka’s Etisalat has been making waves in the broadband space. First it was the App Zone. Then an Android Forum that attracted 2000 applicants. Then the cheapest smartphones in the market, that resulted in 500 sales in two days. Here is the thinking behind all this: Fixed broadband connectivity alone cannot provide the Internet needs of Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka, the cheapest Huawei Android smartphone goes for around LKR 11,900 (USD 105). This comes bundled with a special software that renders Sinhala and Tamil font, so users can read local language content. The operator who is offering this handset, Etisalat, is doing all this without any compulsion: because he wants the business. Now imagine the following: he is not allowed to directly import, but has to buy through local vendors (makes it impossible to get good deals from Huawei, based on the amount of business Huawei does with Etisalat overall, rather than just Sri Lanka); he has to convince some official that every handset he offers has a local language keypad (if he’s unlucky, the official might insist on real keypad, and refuse the touchscreen version): and so on. What will be the outcome?
We had been using the app store, first introduced by Apple, as an easy-to-grasp model that Asia’s telecom operators should emulate. Reduce transaction costs; foster decentralized innovation, we said. We were pleased that Etisalat in Sri Lanka was one of the first to implement the idea. Sadly, it appears that Apple is reintroducing some elements of the discredited walled garden metaphor into the app store. The change may signal a shift for Apple.
Makes eminent sense for a telco operating in the Gulf and in Sri Lanka to offer mpayment services. Also makes eminent sense to abolish excessive roaming charges within countries they operate in, like Zain (in the process of becoming part of Bharti). And even selling Etisalat SIMs to our workers before they go to Dubai. Etisalat’s new Sri Lankan mobile subsidiary is in talks with banks to offer financial services on mobile phones, such as money transfers for migrant workers in the Middle East, a senior company official said. Riyaaz Rasheed deputy chief executive of Etisalat Lanka said the mobile operator is seeking to tie-up with banks to offer the financial services.
Cell phones double as electronic wallets in RP By Oliver Teves Associated Press Last updated 10:42am (Mla time) 09/30/2007 Philippine Daily Inquirer SAN MIGUEL, Philippines–It’s Thursday, so 18-year-old Dennis Tiangco is off to a bank to collect his weekly allowance, zapped by his mother–who’s working in Hong Kong–to his electronic wallet: his cell phone. Sauntering into a branch of GM Bank in the town of San Miguel, Dennis fills out a form, sends a text message via his phone to a bank line dedicated to the service. In a matter of seconds, the transaction is approved and the teller gives him P2,500 (US$54), minus a 1-percent fee. He doesn’t need a bank account to retrieve the money. More than 5.
United Arab Emirates company Etisalat began operating in Afghanistan on Wednesday becoming the fifth mobile phone service provider and one of the biggest foreign investors. With an investment of $300 million, Etisalat’s mobile phone network will initially cover Afghanistan’s main cities. Etisalat, the third-largest Arab telecom firm by market value, joins four other telecommunication companies operating in the country. These companies have invested some $800 million in the Afghan telecoms sector and the government has earned $100 million from them in the past year in tax and from issuing licences. Read more.