Eng. Saleh Al Abdooli

Eng. Saleh Al Abdooli serves as the Chief Executive Officer of Etisalat Group, the leading telecom operator in Africa and the Middle East. He has been associated with the Group since 1992. He has been pivotal in creating technological integration strategies as well as corporate and global expansion investments at Etisalat. 

Eng. Saleh is also the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors, Chairman of the Executive Committee for Etisalat Misr and a Board Member for Etisalat Services Holding Company. He was most recently appointed as Etisalat’s representative in Mobily Board of Directors and Chairman of Thuraya, leading mobile satellite communications company. 

He is one of the first Emirati engineers to have earned a Master’s Degree in Telecommunications Technology with Honours in 1992 from the University of Colorado, USA, after completing his Bachelors in Electrical Engineering from same university.

Eng. Abdooli started his career with Etisalat as an Engineer for mobile systems planning. During the following eight years, he was rapidly promoted up the ranks to become Chief Engineer for Mobile Systems Planning, supervising many aspects of the expansion of Etisalat’s telecommunications network.  In 2001, he became the Managing Engineer for Mobile systems, responsible for all activities related to planning, design, optimization, operation, maintenance, installation, and quality assurance across the network. He designed and launched the first 3G network in the Middle East and Africa and the fifth in the world in December 2003. Eng. Abdooli was a pioneer deeply involved in the growth of the company’s networks and corporate expansions in important markets such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

In 2006, Etisalat’s senior management founded Etisalat Misr, where Eng. Saleh led the company for over five years after more than 14 years of service in Etisalat. His leadership years as CEO of Etisalat Misr was a great success story in the telecom industry and earned him a great reputation as leader of one of the best third entrants in mobile operation worldwide. He achieved remarkable results in the mature Egyptian market dominated by other telecom providers, gaining a strong foothold as one of the leading telecom companies in the country. He built the network and the company from scratch and established the first 3G and 3.75G mobile network in Egypt in seven months. He won several international awards including a ‘Best CEO of the Year’, and for the company, the Best ‘Operator of the Year’ award in Middle East and Africa, and ‘Best African Mobile Operator’ in Egypt.

Using technology and service innovation as a driving force to its roadmap, the company achieved several successes and record-breaking achievements, including winning the first million subscribers in 55 days since launch. In less than five years of operation under Eng. Saleh’s leadership, Etisalat Misr covered 99% of the populated areas in Egypt with 2G and 3G mobile networks and reached more than 18 million subscribers. 

In 2012, he returned to the UAE as CEO of Etisalat UAE – one of most important operations in the region that was also undergoing intense competition. Etisalat UAE has since achieved several successes with Eng. Al Abdooli being at the helm of the company’s affairs and brought on several innovative technologies and services, ensuring that the UAE maintains its position as a leading global ICT economy. 

In less than two years of his tenure, Etisalat has solidified its position as a market leader, proven by the company’s growing subscriber base and strong financial results. On the technology side, Etisalat UAE has rapidly expanded its mobile and fixed line networks, contributing to the UAE’s leading global position in fibre-connectivity in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, Eng. Saleh was named as the second ‘Most Powerful’ executive among Top 50 Executives in Arab Companies (Global 2000). 

As a result of this continuous development strategy, Etisalat’s advanced 4G LTE technology today covers nearly 93 percent of the country’s populated areas, providing the UAE’s mobile users with up to 300Mbps Internet speed. Its extensive fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network enables residential broadband speed of up to 500Mbps and covers 86.4 percent of the country’s populated areas.