Forbes Middle East
Forbes Middle East


These Telcos Are Helping The Middle East To Digitally Transform And Connect

Nermeen Abbas
These Telcos Are Helping The Middle East To Digitally Transform And Connect

Telecommunication operators or telcos across the region have seen their profits boom as both mobile penetration and demand for connectivity increase.

Forbes Middle East reveals the Top Mobile Operators in the Arab world, a list derived from our Top Companies in the Middle East 2019. Etisalat Group tops the region’s telecom companies with sales of $14.3 billion and market value of $39.6 billion in 2018.

The six telecommunication operators recorded total sales of $47 billion in 2018, and clocked profits of $7.4 billion. Aggregated assets of these companies reached $114.5 billion.

To formulate the top 100 listed companies, we collected information from all of the 1,149 stocks from various exchanges in the region (with the exception of Iraq and Syria). We then ranked the companies on the basis of:
• Market value
• Sales
• Assets and profits

Each of the criterion was given equal weight


Etisalat Group  


Sales: $14.3 B   

Profits: $2.8 B  

Assets: $34.1 B 

Market Value: $39.6 B  

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, Etisalat was established in the UAE as the country’s first telecommunications service provider. The group serves 141 million subscribers in 15 countries. It has been a first mover in technological innovation and will soon be launching the first commercial 5G wireless network in the UAE and in MENA region.


Saudi Telecom

Saudi Arabia                     

Sales: $13.8 B     

Profits: $2.9 B  

Assets: $29.8 B 

Market Value: $62.4 B  

STC is a Saudi Arabia-based telecommunications company that offers landline, mobile, Internet services and computer network. The company has recently launched the largest data center in Riyadh which was ranked a Tier 4 data center, the highest category according to the classification of the Uptime institute with STC having the largest capacity among data centers in the Middle East.




Sales: $8.2 B

Profits: $492 M                

Assets: $23.4 B 

Market Value: $5.7 B    

The leading international communications company has a customer base of more than 115 million customers across 12 international markets across the Middle East, North Africa and Southeast Asia. Ooredoo has lately announced a partnership with EnrichAI to enable the development of diverse Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to drive the digital transformation of the country’s organizations.




Sales: $5.7 B       

Profits: $543 M                

Assets: $19 B    

Market Value: $1.2 B    

Omantel is the first provider of integrated telecommunications and ICT services in the Sultanate. Omantel’s 2018 revenues jumped to $5.7 billion in 2018, up from $1.9 billion in 2017, thanks to its $2.19 billion acquisition of Zain Group in 2017.




Sales: $3.6 B

Profits: $477 M

Assets: $4.5 B   

Market Value: $6.4 B

Launched in 2006, du provides mobile and fixed telephony, broadband connectivity and IPTV services to people, homes and businesses all over the UAE. The telecom operator had a total mobile customer base at 7.89 million in 2018.

Earlier this year, du joined a global consortium to collaborate on future blockchain innovations, through which it will explore blockchain’s untapped potential through advances in transparency, security, and real-time transactions.


Telecom Egypt


Sale:  $1.3 B      

Profits: $203 M

Assets: $3.7 B

Market Value: $1.4 B

Telecom Egypt is a leading integrated telecommunication provider in Egypt with 3.9 million mobile subscribers in 2018. The company’s fixed voice subscribers increased to 6.7 million and fixed broadband jumped to 5 million, as of December 2018.

A researcher at Forbes Middle East, located in Cairo, Egypt, I am part of the research team, participating in creating lists such as The Top 100 Startups; The Most Influential Women; The Top Companies, 30 Under 30 among other lists. prior to joining Forbes ME; I've worked as an economic journalist for more than 6 years with vast experience in writing stock markets' reports, financial news and macro-economic analysis. I find my passion in reading, writing and travelling.

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