“Telecom Industry Ripe For Consolidation”
In the March 28, 2010 issue of The New York Times, Booz & Company Partner Karim Sabbagh (Middle East) said Middle East telecom operators that can make the transition to integrated, international operators will be the ones to benefit most in the new global landscape. Whereas few Middle Eastern operators have melded their acquisitions into profitable groups, Sabbagh said, “those operators that can successfully transition from mere collections of independent multimarket companies to truly integrated international companies will sustain competitive advantage.” With Western operators cutting costs in mature markets, the bigger deals are coming in Africa and the Middle East, where mobile phone penetration remains low. The regional operators Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications of India, Etisalat of Abu Dhabi, Qtel of Qatar, Zain and Orascom have all built their groups through acquisitions.