Thanks for your interest in our latest research. You can view a summary of our latest report below.

Network Spending Profile: Etisalat

The Emirates Telecommunications Group, better known as Etisalat, is the UAE’s largest telco group and the second largest in the MEA region. In 2020 Etisalat reported annual revenues of $14.1 billion, capex of $1.7B (12.0% capital intensity), $1.2B in network operations opex (19% of total opex, excluding depreciation & amortization), and approximately 38K employees. As of March 2021, it had 156 million combined subscribers of fixed, broadband, and mobile services across its markets, concentrated in the UAE, Egypt, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Morocco, and Pakistan.
Etisalat’s UAE HQ has among the best fiber networks in the world. The company has made development of ultra (fixed) broadband and complementary content/media services a priority. Over 70% of Etisalat’s total fixed revenues come from the UAE, and fixed revenues in the UAE exceeded mobile in 2020. Mobile dominates elsewhere.
Etisalat’s strategy is “driving the digital future to empower societies”, which guides it as it “transitions from a traditional telecom operator to an integrated ICT/digital solution provider.” One of four strategic goals centers on technology: to “transform into an agile, digital and efficient organization.” As part of this, Etisalat has embraced the cloud, investing heavily in its own “SAHAB” telco cloud with help from vendor partners and Microsoft Azure. The company aims to leverage “advancements in network virtualization and the adoption of cloud on the path toward programmable and software-driven networks and associated operations”. It expects that its transition to hybrid cloud will enable it to deploy digital platforms in new areas like AI, analytics, automation and blockchain.
Network spending
Etisalat’s capex has averaged $2B over the last four years, roughly 5% of which is software. The company spends 18-19% of opex on network operations, and an estimated 5-6% on utilities costs (higher in north Africa). Etisalat’s reported spend on tower/fiber leasing is small, but the ratio is far higher for its Mobily associate in Saudi Arabia. In the KSA, Etisalat is developing a wholesale tower sharing company with Zain KSA. In concert with wider deployment of 5G, Etisalat expects its capital intensity to spike to 16-18% in 2021...
Read more
To see our most recently published reports, click here

Best regards,
Matt Walker
Chief Analyst