KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – Kuwait’s telecom giant MTC Group on Saturday began operating under the new brand name Zain as part of its bid to climb into the top 10 of global telecom operators, officials said.
“The move will bring all the company operations in 21 countries under one brand name. It is a part of our strategy to become one of the top 10 global companies,” the CEO and general manager for Kuwait, Barrak al-Sabeeh, told a press conference.
The company’s operations in Kuwait, Jordan, Bahrain and Sudan will immediately come under the new name, while its operations in 14 African countries, Iraq and Lebanon will change later.
MTC in Saudi Arabia, slated to launch in early 2008, will operate as Zain. The company has been awarded the third mobile licence in the oil-rich kingdom for 6.1 billion dollars.
Sabeeh said that Zain headquarters will shortly be based in neighbouring Dubai or Bahrain or in the Dutch city of Amsterdam.
He said the company will continue to expand globally by chasing every investment opportunity. Currently, Zain is bidding for licences in Qatar and Algeria.
The company’s customer base increased 40 percent to 32.15 million on June 30 compared to 22.9 million subscribers a year ago.
The group, in which the Kuwaiti government has a 24.6-percent stake, saw its capitalisation double to 28 billion dollars, after making a number of multi-billion-dollar acquisitions in the past few years.
It is one of two mobile operators in Kuwait, along with the National Telecommunications Co (Wataniya). A third company is currently being established with operations expected in the first quarter of 2008.