BT to increase hiring for Middle East expansion

British Telecommunications plans to increase hiring in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey as it aims to double its business in those markets.

British Telecommunications plans to increase hiring in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey as it aims to double its business in those markets.

The UK operator says it will add about 170 employees across the three regions, where it sells corporate IT and telecommunications services.

Infrastructure and research also form part of BT's planned regional investment, which it said would be rolled out over the next 18 months.

The company did not disclose the value of its planned investment in the three markets.

Luis Álvarez Satorre, the president for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America at BT Global Services, said BT aimed to be the biggest global telecoms company in those regions.

"We are hiring more people and we are going to almost double the size of our team in the region," Mr Satorre said. "We are becoming the strongest global player in the region in the telecoms sector."

BT says it is increasing its regional staff to 400, including an extra 30 employees in Dubai.

BT Global Services provides communications to its corporate customers, which include organisations and other regional telecoms companies.

"We are going to bring the world to the region, and we are going to bring the region to the world," Mr Satorre said.

BT planned to expand its network in the Middle East, including more data connectivity points, he said. These include 21 regional cities served by ethernet - or data connections - along with undersea cables, satellite systems and cloud computing.

The investment in the region will be conducted over the short term, Mr Satorre said. "We have a plan to roll out this portfolio in the next 12 to 18 months."

According to research by BT, the total addressable market in those regions was worth £5.4 billion (Dh31.22bn) last year.

The company says it works with 600 local clients, including Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Jumeirah, and will boost its sales team in the region.

It has business relationships with 90 per cent of regional telecoms operators, including Etisalat and du, helping to provide connectivity for their customers, BT said.

Typical services offered by the company include telecoms networks, cloud computing and contact centre management.

Jeff Kelly, the chief executive of BT Global Services, said the company was also making "significant investments" in infrastructure in its home market, the UK.

BT's investment programme in the Middle East is to include research and development. The British company, along with the UAE's Etisalat, already has a research venture at Khalifa University, Mr Kelly said.

BT reported a profit of £2.08bn last year, on an annual turnover of £20.07bn. It has had sales operations in Middle East and Africa since 1985.

bflanagan@thenational.ae

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Published: February 15, 2012 04:00 AM

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