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Etihad Etisalat Co. (Arabic: اتحاد اتصالات‎) is a Saudi Arabian telecommunications services company that offers fixed line, mobile telephony, and Internet services under the brand name Mobily (Arabic: موبايلي‎).

Etihad Etisalat Co.
Native name
اتحاد اتصالات
Traded asTadawul: 7020
Founded14 December 2004; 14 years ago (2004-12-14)
Area served
Saudi Arabia
Key people
Sulaiman Abdulrahman Algwaiz (Chairman)
Salman Abdulaziz Albadran (CEO)
Waleed Alabdusalam (CHRO)
Khalid Abanami (CFO)
ServicesFixed line, Mobile phone, and Internet service provider
RevenueSAR 6.7 billion (30 June 2016)
SAR 284 million (30 June 2016)
SAR 35.4 million (30 June 2016)
OwnersEtisalat (27.45%)
GOSI (11.85%)

The company was established in 2004, and in the summer of that year, won the bid for Saudi Arabia's second GSM licence. Mobily launched mobile services in Saudi Arabia on 5 May 2005, breaking Saudi Telecom's monopoly in the wireless business. The company launched 3.5G services on 27 June 2006 and 4G services on 13 September 2011.


Etihad Etisalat Co. was incorporated as a joint stock company under royal decree no. M/40 dated 18 August 2004.[1] The company won the bid for Saudi Arabia's second GSM licence in the summer of 2004.[2] The licence is valid for 25 years.[3] Etihad Etisalat began its constituent activities on 14 December 2004 upon the publication of its incorporation.[1]

United Arab Emirates firm Etisalat holds a 27.45% stake in the company, the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) holds 11.85%[2] and the rest is held by other investors and by public shares. Etisalat Etihad held an Initial public offering in October 2004 that was massively oversubscribed (30 times). Police had to be called in to respond to unrest among investors fighting over application forms.[3]

Etihad Etisalat launched GSM mobile services under the brand name Mobily on 5 May 2005, breaking the Saudi Telecom Company's monopoly in the wireless business. The company had spent 6 months preparing for the launch, and acquired 1 million subscribers within the first 90 days of launch.[2][4]

The company launched 3.5G services on 27 June 2006 and 4G services on 13 September 2011.[5]


The GSM Associations "GSM Association Newsletter" Dec. 2004 edition described Mobily as the fastest growing mobile operator in the Middle East & North Africa. In 2006, Mobily reached more than 4,800,000 subscribers. As of 20 January 2007, mobily had 6 million subscribers and 0.5 million 3G users.

Mobily introduced in 2004 the first telecommunication franchise business model in the Persian Gulf region, the Fully Branded outlet-(FBO), assuring rapid and cost effective expansion of its network of outlets.

Since entering the Saudi market in 2004 Mobily adopted a solid expansion strategy, based on a direct and indirect sales channels. This strategy allowed Mobily to quickly expand and establish the Mobily Brand throughout Saudi Arabia, and as a result achieve its set target for 2006, both in terms of sales and revenue targets, unfortunately this has been achieved with other services and coverages being compromised as a result.

Mobily’s employees include a sales team via its own flagship branches, Fully Branded Outlets, Co-Branded outlets, Kiosks and thousands of dealers scattered throughout the country, covering the majority of the population.

This network of outlets and dealers was a major factor in Mobily's rapid growth and customer acquisition. As a result, Mobily has earned a significant market share since launching operations on May 25, 2005.[citation needed]

The company has launched a mobile push-to-talk service (PTT) under the brand name 'Mobily Hawwel' in Saudi Arabia. The PTT service provides users with a different user experience to the traditional voice service, delivering a 'walkie-talkie' like experience - only one person can talk at a time. However, it is not limited in distance as with normal walkie-talkies, as the conversation is carried across the mobile GSM network. This service is being offered for the first time in the country.

The service can provide a one-to-one voice service or up to 10 people at the same time as group calling, allowing a user to know who is online through small icons appearing with certain colours. Mobily said that the service will be available for post-paid and pre-paid subscribers at monthly fees. Mobily Hawwel conversations are encrypted over GPRS data or 3G network to avoid cross-talk or listening-in.

This will be accomplished with the execution of an ambitious expansion plans for its own network of flagships, as well as introducing a new franchise retail concept (Mini-FBO).

The new concept (Mini-FBO) will complement the existing Mobily retail and channel partner outlets, and will cover more than 60 cities and towns, which will help achieve its targets, both in terms of sales and customer experience. Those outlets, as is the case with the Mobily flagships, will provide the full range of products and services to the current and future customers of Mobily.

On September 13, 2011 Mobily launched TD-LTE (4G) services, becoming the first operator in the Middle East and North Africa to do so.[6]

In July 23, 2016, Mobily had officially launched (AAE-1) submarine cable in Jeddah; in presence of HE Minister of Communications and Technology, Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel.

Advanced exploitationEdit

In May 2013, it was reported that Mobily is working on a way to intercept encrypted data sent over the Internet by Twitter, Viber, WhatsApp, and other mobile apps, and to bypass the protections built into the SSL and Transport Layer Security protocols.[7][8]

Network technologyEdit

Network Status Date
May 2005
27 June 2006
November 2009
February 2010
13 September 2011

The first phase of 4G coverage included the cities of Najran, Jazan, Al Kharj, Ras tanoura, Algurayat and Aldudamy. The second phase included Hail, Al Baha, Al Mujamaaa, and Wadi Al Dawasir, and the third phase covered Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Company Details". Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Mobily | Mobily at a Glance". Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b Ettihad Etisalat IPO descends into chaos, 25 Oct 2004
  4. ^ Mobily hits one million user mark: announces expansion plan and new offers, 23 Aug 2005
  5. ^ "Mobily Announces 4G LTE Service in Saudi Arabia (STC and Zain too) - SaudiMac". 13 September 2011. Retrieved 2 October 2016.
  6. ^ Mobily launches 4G services Arab News, Sep 13, 2011
  7. ^ Dan Goodin: Dear hacker: Please help us eavesdrop on our customers, arstechnica, May 13, 2013
  8. ^ Moxie Marlinspike: A Saudi Arabia Telecom's Surveillance Pitch, May 13, 2013

External linksEdit