The Nigerian unit of UAE-based telecoms company Etisalat aims to increase its mobile subscriber base to seven million by the end of the year, Reuters reports, citing head of Etisalat Nigeria Steven Evans. The chief executive told a telecoms conference in Cape Town that the company had recently crossed the six million customer mark. Etisalat Nigeria plans to spend up to USD500 million on its network in 2011, as it looks to double its subscriber base to twelve million by the end of that year. ‘I would think that we are still going to spend anything in the order of USD400 to USD500 million in terms of capital expenditure, similar perhaps to 2010,’ Evans said, adding that he expected the unit to break even in 2011 on an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) basis, paving the way for the company to move into a more profitable phase and return money to shareholders. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Etisalat Nigeria is 40%-owned by UAE incumbent Etisalat, with 30% owned by UAE government investment vehicle Mubadala Development Company, and the remainder by Nigerian investors. The company launched commercial GSM services under the Etisalat brand in November 2008.
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