i2 in UNICEF promo and Pakistan push


Middle East handset distributor and retailer i2 is offering $1 (£0.56) to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for every handset sold in its stores in eight selected markets.

The charity campaign runs for six months in KSA, UAE, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Tunisia, Iraq and Sudan. Its start coincided with the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, towards the end of August.

Money raised will help underprivileged children in the Middle East and Africa, particularly Egypt, Sudan and Iraq, where i2 operates.

Last year, i2 raised $100,000 for UNICEF during Ramadan.

Meanwhile, i2 chief executive Abdul Hameed Al Sunaid said i2’s expansion plans in South Asia will see it roll-out service points and distribution to most cities in Pakistan.

The company publishes an i2 magazine of handsets and accessories, and also runs a chain of shops and cafes in the Middle East.

It will adopt the same business model in Pakistan. The number of mobile phone users increased by more than 20 million last financial year. There are around 90 million mobile phone users in the country, which has a population of 165 million.

Recently, i2 appointed Guy Sauvage as chief operating officer for the Middle East and Africa. Sauvage has held senior positions at Carrefour and Ikea, among other firms. To date, i2 is present in 22 countries in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

i2’s plan to set up in the UK has been put on hold after it failed in its bid for a Nokia distribution contract.

The handset distributor was invited to tender based upon its close relationship with Nokia in the Middle East.

But in the UK, 20:20 and Data Select won the recent tenders for Nokia handsets and accessories.