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Batelco Group Further Strengthens Commitment to Jordanian telecom market investing JD50 million in Umniah 3G License

Batelco Group Further Strengthens Commitment to Jordanian telecom market investing JD50 million in Umniah 3G License

Amman, Jordan: Batelco Group (Ticker: BATELCO), the regional telecommunications operator of reference with operations across seven countries announced that it is investing JD50M to obtain 3G license in Jordan, via Umniah, a 96% owned subsidiary.

Umniah has obtained a 3G license pursuant to paying JD50 million to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) and will further invest towards infrastructure and network expenses related to the roll out during the next 6 months.

The announcements were made today during a signing ceremony followed by a press conference held under the patronage of Jordan's Minister of Information and Communications Technology, H.E. Eng. Basem Al Rousan, at the Four Seasons Hotel. The press conference was attended by Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) Chief Commissioner Eng. Mohammad Al Taani, alongside Umniah CEO Ihab Hinnawi, a group of Umniah employees and local media representatives.

Umniah acquired 2.1 GHz of spectrum from the TRC, preparing it to move forward with the rollout of the advanced 3.75G services to its growing customer base. Umniah currently serves more than 2.3 million customers in the Kingdom, giving it a 31% market share.

During the press conference, Hinnawi stated that Umniah's new high-speed Internet services, applicable on both smartphones and PCs, will dramatically enhance customer experience and will enable Umniah to better cater to subscribers' evolving demands in line with local market directions and purchasing power. Hinnawi explained that this step corresponds with Umniah's belonging to technology and innovation, its customer-centric approach and its long-standing track record of accomplishments in helping raise both mobile and Internet penetration across the Kingdom.

"Through our 3G services, we seek to facilitate Internet and data access as well as deliver original and innovative content, services and applications that boost businesses' efficiency and constructively influence subscribers' daily lives. With our high-speed Internet services, Umniah subscribers will enjoy an exceptional customer experience, increasing the Company's positive impact on the Jordanian telecom sector and the community at large," he said.  

Commenting on the announcement, Batelco Group CEO, Shaikh Mohamed bin Isa Al Khalifa, said, "We are delighted to announce this significant milestone for the Group in Jordan. It goes a long way towards highlighting Batelco's commitment and confidence in the Jordanian market as well as our ongoing contributions to the development of the Kingdom's ICT sector and economy overall. Overseas growth remains a core part of Batelco Group's strategy and this investment serves to underscore our focus on driving growth and building on our market leading positions in key markets for the Group such as Jordan where we see significant opportunities and room for further penetration. We have already derived significant value from our investment in Umniah and we expect that with the development of Umniah's service offering through 3G capabilities, we will achieve even further gains in market share and enhanced results as we go forth."  

In turn, Minister Al Rousan stated, "With the Kingdom setting its sights on becoming the MENA region's ICT hub, it is paramount that we empower industry players to embrace the latest technological developments and advancements in the field. We feel that Umniah's investment in 3G is a step towards greater industry readiness to take on the challenge of driving the innovation curve in the region."

Al Taani touched upon the impact that Umniah's entry into the 3G market would have on the sector, saying, "Thriving markets are those that enjoy a healthy dose of competition, which is why we are pleased with this new development. Jordan's telecom sector has consistently been ranked amongst the most competitive in the region, and by granting Umniah the 3G license we feel that the sector will be able to bolster its activities and better serve local market needs."

Scheduled to be launched nationwide between the second and third quarter of year 2012, Umniah's advanced 3.75G services will ensure fast and accurate transfer of data and will provide subscribers with instant Multimedia Services (MMS). Service deployment will take place via an Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) infrastructure - considered the latest and most mature in 3G services. Umniah's network is already 3G ready with more than 1500 sites prepared to deploy 3G services.