Etisalat net profits up 31%

First quarter profits at the UAE operator have hit US$364 million thanks to a 23% rise in mobile subscribers and a 31% increase in internet connections.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  April 19, 2006

UAE national operator Etisalat has announced its first quarter financial results, reporting a 31% rise in net profits to US$364 million. Operating profits also increased, reaching US$331 million. Etisalat’s mobile subscriber base now stands at 4.76 million after 23% during 2005, giving the UAE a penetration rate of over 100%. Internet subscriptions, including broadband, also rose substantially, increasing 31% to 570,000, as did fixed-line connections, up 4% to 1.25 million lines. Mohammed Al Qamzi, Etisalat’s newly appointed CEO who recently took over from Mohammad Hassan Omran, says the results move the operator closer to its goal. “The performance of the corporation in the first quarter of 2006 brings us even closer to our ambition of being among the top 10 telecom operators in the world.” A management reshuffle earlier this month saw Al Qamzi promoted from his position as head of Etisalat’s Abu Dhabi operations and Omran taking up the post of chairman. This year will see Etisalat lose its monopoly status as the UAE’s second licence holder, du, becomes operational. du CEO Sultan Osman says that the operator will be launching mobile services in the second half of 2006. Once operational, existing Etisalat subscibers will be able to switch to du without losing their number, a move that is expected to be confirmed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority later this year.

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