Etisalat Nigeria, the local subsidiary of United Arab Emirates telecoms company Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), is aiming to grow its subscriber base by 45% next year by poaching customers from rival operators. Bloomberg cites Etisalat Nigeria’s CEO Steven Evans as saying that the company targets an active subscriber base of 20 million by the end of 2013, up from the current total of over 13 million. ‘Most of our growth is coming from people leaving other operators,’ he said. In May this year the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) fined the country’s four largest GSM operators (including Etisalat) a total of NGN1.17 billion (USD7.3 million) for failure to meet service quality targets. ‘Initially all of the four operators were surprised by the move by the regulator and we made it clear that we felt that fining the operators was a very counter-productive move, given the amount of investment all the operators are making into the network,’ commented Evans, adding: ‘We agreed a set of strong key performance indicators which the regulator is happy with and we’re happy with.’ Etisalat, Nigeria’s fourth largest mobile operator by subscribers, plans to invest around USD500 million annually in Nigeria this year and in 2013 to improve infrastructure and fund expansion.
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