Qatar's Ooredoo to invest $274m in fibre network

State-backed telecoms operator aims to get all homes connected by end of 2014

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Qatar's Ooredoo to invest $274m in fibre network Ooredoo aims to have all homes connected to the service by the end of 2014.
By  Francesca Astorri Published  June 18, 2013

Qatar's Ooredoo, the state-backed telecommunications operator formerly known as Qtel, is to invest more than QR1bn ($274m) to develop the Gulf state's fibre optic network and aims to have all homes connected to the service by the end of 2014, a senior executive said.

"In January 2012 we commercially launched Ooredoo Fibre, which is Qatar's fastest-ever home fibre optic network. We firmly believe in the benefits of fibre optic networks for our customers and we have committed to spend capital of more than QR1bn to have Ooredoo Fibre pass by all households in Qatar by the end of 2014," said Waleed Al Sayed, chief operating officer at Ooredoo.

Ooredoo Fibre is currently connected to more than 50,000 customers, providing a connection speed 10 times faster than copper wire.

"Qatar has one of the fastest nationwide fibre rollouts in the world since the start of deployment in 2011, as judged by the average percentage of homes passed by Fibre [33% of the total] and the number of homes connected [6.3%] per year," according to the latest report released by international management consulting firm Arthur D Little (ADL).

The report claimed the pace of the roll out in Qatar exceeds that of several highly developed nations and the UAE.

"If you look at the US, for example, the prices are very much comparable to Qatar and I think Qatar services and products are quite competitive. In the US you won't get 100MB below $150, it's much more competitive in Qatar," Dr Karim Taga, managing partner and global practice leader at ADL TIME practice, told Arabian Business.

The next step for Ooredoo will be the launch of Ooredoo Business Fibre, the same speed connection but with a special price, focusing on the country's small and medium-sized businesses.

Ooredoo reported a 13.6% rise in first-quarter net profit, as increased revenue from Qatar, Iraq and Indonesia offset a sustained profit slump at its Kuwait and Oman units.

The former monopoly, which operates in about 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, made a net profit of QR808m ($222m) in the three months to March 31, up from QR711m in the year-earlier period.

Analysts polled by Reuters in April had on average forecast Ooredoo would make a quarterly profit of between QR712m and 1.04bn.

The net profit increase comes despite earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) falling 3.1% to QR3.72bn.

Ooredoo's revenue reached QR8.44bn compared with QR8.03bn a year ago.

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