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Kuwaiti operator eyes European markets

26 июня 2009

Kuwait-listed Hits Telecom has high hopes for its existing MVNO operation in Spain and is looking to expand elsewhere in Europe.

"We are planning to enter other large European markets based on our model in Spain," Sultan Bahabri, chairman of Hits Telecom, told Total Telecom on Thursday.

"We are interested in France [in particular]," Bahabri said, noting that the company is looking at launching as a virtual operator there, rather than bidding for the fourth mobile licence that is due to go on offer later this year.

"That model... is over," he said, referring to the hefty price tags telcos have paid for licences in the past.

"The cash could be used in better ways than bidding for expensive licences," he added.

This is particularly true in mature markets where penetration stands at around the 100% mark.

In Spain Hits Mobile focuses on the immigrant population, where one of its key selling points is offering customer services in six languages.

"It's not just the price of the minute, but also customer service," Bahabri said.

Hits Mobile is innovative and affordable to its target market; "this is the way that we would like to place ourselves," the chairman added.

"[Hits is] the fastest growing MVNO in Spain," he said. Having launched services in November 2008, the company aims to have 100,000 subscribers by the end of 2009.

However, the telco's ambitions are not restricted to Europe.

Hits Telecom was established in Saudi Arabia in 2002, where it is a big player in the mobile phone distribution market, a position it aims to expand on.

"We are interested in establishing our own brand [in Saudi Arabia]," Bahabri said, again by taking the MVNO route.

Although MVNOs are not currently allowed in the Saudi market, Bahabri believes the law will change next year.

Hits Telecom holds GSM licences in four markets in Africa – Tanzania, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea – and is the owner of Unitel, which holds the third GSM licence in Yemen. The company also holds a stake in a backbone operator in China and provides mobile services in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"We believe that Latin America has great opportunities. [It is] still untapped," Bahabri said, predicting that there is still space for a fully-fledged MVNO in Brazil.

In addition, "we are looking into both [India and China... via an] MVNO or other models," Bahabri said.

"There are certain opportunities that would enable you to enter a niche segment in China," he concluded.


Источник: Total Telecom

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