As mobile phone and e-banking services prove more indispensable, service providers and maintenance companies find their businesses thriving even during financially troubled times.
In Egypt, mobile phone operators continue building and upgrading network stations and banks are embarking on more advanced e-banking services to attract relatively fresh markets.
“In Egypt and the Middle East, networks are still growing, licenses are still being awarded, and station infrastructure is ongoing, said Sameh Atalla, CEO of Mobiserve Holding, a telecom and business solutions company.
“Mobiserve is specialized in construction and maintenance of network stations, so business growth is continuing, he added. “We operate some 5,000 sites where we keep maintaining and upgrading mobile networks such as moving from 2G to 3G services. This sort of technology is constantly developing and its growth never ends.
Egypt – where an estimated 40 million use mobile phones – first saw launch of 3G mobile phone services in May 2007. Facing a growing penetration rate that recently soared to around 58 percent, Egypt’s three mobile phone operators are investing millions of pounds on building new network stations as well as upgrading existing ones.
“In the last five years, we were able to multiply our turnover by almost eight folds, Atalla stated.
Egypt-based Mobiserve, which operates 24 offices nationwide, witnessed an upsurge in revenues to $172 million in 2008 up from $168 million in the previous year. The company is present in six countries besides Egypt, which mainly are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Algeria, Tunisia, Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
“Our Egyptian operations constitute between 30-35 percent of our total revenues, he pointed out.
The company’s line of business includes developing telecom infrastructure, construction and maintenance of network stations, installing internet connection and satellite data transfer, inventory management, SIM cards packaging, as well as maintaining non-telecom facilities such as bank branches and smart buildings.
Mobiserve also specializes in digital printing of bills for utility companies, banks and telecom operators, delivery of bank statements and credit card payments, as well as bad debt collection.
“Our business is diversified, and we seek to provide our clients with efficient business solutions that are also cost-effective, especially in light of the financial crisis, stated Atalla.
Mobiserve serves some of the region’s as well as the world’s largest mobile operators and banks, including Orascom Telecom (OT), TE Data, LinkDotNet, Menatel, Wind, Cisco Nokia, Motorola, Alcatel-Lucent, Samsung, HSBC, Citibank, Commercial International Bank, Barclays, Audi Bank, NSGB, NEC and Pfizer.
Established in 1999, Mobiserve previously operated under the name of OrasInvest and was fully owned by the region’s largest telecom operator OT.
Last November, a private equity fund – a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Company – fully acquired the company in a leveraged buyout worth $180 million and changed its name to Mobiserve Holding.