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Telecomms firms post rosy results

Qtel, Batelco and MTC have all reported a year on year increase in their Q1 revenue.

Batelco, MTC and Qtel all reported healthy results in the first quarter of 2003.

Bahrain's Batelco revenue grew 3.7% to reach BD47.8 million (US $126.8 million) and profit grew 4% to reach BD15.5 million. The company tried to highlight what it saw as several positives in a statement, including plans to reduce mobile call charges by up to 35% and invest BD25-30 million in infrastructure each year. Batelco also reported that 95% of its employees are now Bahraini nationals.

“Batelco is delighted to achieve solid results in a time of uncertainty,” the company said in its statement. “This proves we are taking the prudent measures necessary to ensure financial stability and shareholder returns during this period of exciting change for the Bahrain telecommunications market.

MTC, the Kuwait-based mobile operator that just received Bahrain's second GSM license, saw first quarter revenue increase 19% year on year to reach KD38.154 million (US $127.8 million). Net profit rose 14% year on year to reach KD23.056 million (US $77.23 million.)

“I am delighted with these strong results, which justify the number of improvements and acquisitions that MTC made last year,” said Dr Saad Al Barrak, director general of the MTC Group.

“The acquisition of Fastlink in Jordan, our success in securing the second GSM licence in Bahrain and our co-branding initiative with Vodafone are all part of our strategic plan to improve the service for our customers and have a company that the employees are really proud of.”

MTC’s results cover its Kuwaiti operation, which is branded as MTC-Vodafone. The results for Jordan’s Fastlink, which it formally acquired in January, were reported separately.

Qatar Telecom (Qtel) saw its revenues increase 11% year on year in the first quarter of 2003, after it cut prices and expanded its GSM subscriber base by more than half on the same period last year. Revenue reached QR470 million (US $129 million) in the period from January to March 2003 and operating profit reached QR268million.

“This was principally due to increased mobile phone usage spurred by service improvements and attractive pricing,” said the company’s chairman, Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani.

The drive to attract more users saw the operator’s pre-paid subscriber base rise by 103%, or 80,000, from March 2002 to March 2003.

Qtel also managed to increase the number of its more lucrative, post-paid customers by 20%, and increase wireless revenues by 27%. Qtel’s total GSM subscriber base rose 55% year on year to reach 286,500 and its internet subscriber base rose 40% to reach 19,800.

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