Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E. ("OTH")is part of the Orascom group of companies,which was established in 1976. Orascom entered the field of Information Technology and Telecommunications by trading and distributing IT and telecom equipment in Egypt. It became the market leader representing the most important companies in these sectors such as Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Compaq, IBM, Lucent Technologies (AT&T), Oracle and Novell.
Orascom built its solid foundations in IT and telecommunication hardware over a period of ten years. In 1994, it acquired an interest in Egypts first ISP, InTouch, marking its first step in offering services in the communications marketplace. As the communications sector in Egypt began to be privatized, Orascom continued to add more service companies to its portfolio, and was a participant in a joint venture that was awarded Egypts first license for VSAT technologies, and a lead member of a consortium formed to create Egypts first private payphone network. By 1997, Orascom was in a position to participate in the bidding process for a GSM license in Egypt, having proven itself in the marketplace as an IT and telecom hardware leader, in addition to building up the know-how and skills in managing large scale projects and understanding local market conditions.
On July 27th, 1997, OTH was incorporated to consolidate the telecommunications and technology interests of the Orascom family of companies and the controlling shareholders, the Sawiris family. By 1998, OTH was the only company in Egypt with licenses in all three privatized sectors: wireless, fixed line payphones and VSAT technologies. OTH entered into the GSM business in 1998 through a series of acquisitions:
After operating 21 licenses in Africa and the Middle East, OTH decided to divest smaller non-core assets and focus on its core operations to build value:
- In early 1998
GSM operations were launched by acquiring 51% of ECMS. ( Mobinil) with France Telecom and Motorola.
- In September 1999
Purchase of a controlling stake in JMTS-Fastlink in Jordan.
- In March 2000
Greenfield license in Yemen was acquired.
- In April 2000
OTH purchased a 38.6% stake in PMCL- Mobilink in Pakistan and an 80% stake in Telecel, including 11 licenses in Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, CAR, the Ivory Coast, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Moreover, in early 2000, Telecel acquired a new GSM 900 license in Niger.
- In July 2000
OTH was floated on the Cairo & Alexandria Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.
- In February 2001
BOT contract was awarded in Syria.
OTH acquired Motorolas stake in Fastlink in Jordan, in ECMS in Egypt and in PMCL in Pakistan, and as a result, increased its stake in Fastlink to 91.6%, in ECMS to 31.26% and in PMCL to 68.69%.
- In July 2001
OTH acquired a Greenfield license in Algeria.
- In August 2001
OTH acquired a further 20% stake in PMCL and, as a result, increased its ownership to 88.69%.
- In March 2002
OTH acquired a Greenfield license in Tunisia.
- In October 2002
OTH entered into a joint venture with Wataniya Telecom to operate its GSM license in Tunisia.
- In October 2003
OTH was awarded a Greenfield license in Iraqs central region as a result of a competitive bidding process.
- In July 2004
OTH agreed to renew the license of its Pakistani GSM subsidiary, Mobilink, for a further 15 years after the expiration of its previous license in July 2007 and ending in July 2022.
- In September 2004
OTH purchased 100% of a GSM operation in Bangladesh and rebranded it as "banglalink".
- In May 2005
OTH acquired additional equity stakes in OTA in Algeria and in Tunisiana in Tunisia to reach 87.66% and 50%, respectively, through a series of transactions.
- In July 2005
OTH acquired all minorities in its GSM operations in Iraq.
- In December 2005
OTH acquired a strategic stake of 19.3% in Hutchison Telecommunications International Limited.
- In November 2006
OTH acquired additional equity stakes in OTA in Algeria to reach 96.81%. In October, OTH acquired 7.91%, and in November a further stake of 1.21% was added.
- In June 2007
OTH acquired all remaining minority stake in PMCL, as a result OTH indirectly owns 100% of the share capital of Mobilink.
- In January 2008
OTH was granted a Greenfield license in the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, with a 75% ownership.
- In July 2008
OTH announced its participation in a consortium that has provisionally won AWS spectrum in Canada to create a new Canadian owned and controlled wireless operator together with Globalive Communications Corporation.
- In July 2008
Telecel Globe, a majority owned subsidiary of OTH, finalized the acquisition of telecom operators U-Com in Burundi and Telecel in the Central African Republic.
- In January 2009
Telecel Globe, a subsidiary of OTH, announced the acquisition of mobile telecommunications operator Cell One in Namibia.
OTH was awarded the management contract of Lebanese mobile telecommunications operator Alfa.
- In January 2002
OTH started restructuring its 12 operations in sub-Saharan Africa under Telecel.
- In September 2002
SabaFon in Yemen was divested.
- In December 2002
OTH sold Fastlink in Jordan for US$ 423 million.
- In May 2003
OTH finalized the sale of seven GSM assets in sub-Saharan Africa.
- In February 2004
OTH announced the sale of 51.7% equity stake of Telecel Loteny in the Ivory Coast.
- In September 2005
OTH closed the sale of Oasis Telecom in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
- In December 2005
OTH signed a definitive agreement to sell its GSM operation in Congo Brazzaville, Libertis Telecom ("Liberits").
- In December 2007
OTH completes the sale of the remaining stake in HTIL.
OTH sold its Iraqi operations Iraqna for US$ 1.2 billion.
- In November 2008
OTH announced the sale of 100% of OrasInvest
- In January 2009
OTH announced the sale of 100% of M-link