Posts filed under ‘Saudi Arabia’
UAE-based operator Etisalat has signed an agreement to sell Apple’s iPhone 3G mobile phone in the United Arab Emirates from later this month. The operator will simultaneously launch the device in Saudi Arabia through its operator there, Mobily. The iPhone 3G, available in 8GB and 16GB models, is already available in some countries in the Middle East, through agreements with Vodafone and Orange affiliates.
Mobily (Etihad Etisalat), Saudi Arabia’s second largest mobile operator by subscribers, reported a 51% increase in net profit year-on-year for the fourth quarter of 2008. Net profit for the three months to 31 December 2008 was SAR778 million (USD207.5 million), while net profit for the full year was SAR2.09 billion, up from SAR1.38 billion in 2007, on the back of ‘a rise in the number of subscribers, minutes of communications and an increase in demand for broadband services,’ it said. Emirates Telecommunications Corp (Etisalat) has a 26.25% stake in Mobily.
Saudi Telecom company (STC) has won Bahrain’s third mobile network operating licence with a bid of BHD86.7 million (USD231 million), the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced yesterday, breaking the duopoly of state-run Batelco and Kuwaiti-owned Zain. According to Reuters, STC plans to launch its Bahraini operations in the second half of this year and aims to acquire a 20% market share in ten years. The Saudi telco has also committed itself to establishing a USD300 million venture capital fund in Bahrain that will nurture communications and IT companies in the region. Three other firms had registered interest in the auction, but did not bid. Mohammed al-Amer, chairman of the TRA, confirmed that these were Bahraini operators 2Connect and Mena Telecom alongside a consortium including France Telecom subsidiary Jordan Telecom. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have strong links, as several million people cross a causeway linking the two kingdoms every year.
Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Saudi Arabia’s second-largest mobile phone operator beat analysts’ fourth-quarter earnings forecasts due to higher revenues from voice and data services.
Mobily made 778 million riyals ($207.5 million) in the three months to Dec. 31, 51 percent higher than the 514.4 million riyals ($137.2 million) it made a year-earlier, the firm said in a statement posted on the bourse’s website.
Analysts forecast of Mobily’s fourth-quarter earnings ranged from 458 million riyals ($122.15 million) to 605.6 million riyals ($161.52 million), according to a Reuters survey.
The affiliate of Emirates Telecommunications Corp made a net profit of 2.09 billion riyals in 2008 up from 1.38 billion riyals in 2007 after its turnover rose 27.9 percent. The rise in 2008 turnover stemmed from “a rise in the number of subscribers, minutes of communications and an increase in demand for broadband services,” it said.
Earnings per share rose to 4 riyals ($1.07) in 2008 from 2.64 riyals ($0.70) the previous year. The company will give its shareholders a dividend of 0.75 riyal ($0.2) per share for 2008.
Mobily competes with Saudi Telecom Co, the largest Arab telecom firm by market value, for mobile phone and broadband users in the kingdom, home to 25 million people. The company posted a worse-than-expected 62 percent fall in Q4 results on Tuesday.
Zain Saudi Arabia, an affiliate of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain), started operating a third mobile phone network in the third quarter of 2008.
Mobile phone penetration in the largest Arab economy exceeds 100 percent.
Emirates Telecommunications Corp owns 26.25 percent in Mobily, having sold an 8.74 percent stake in the firm at 55 riyals per share last year.
Zain Saudi Arabia, the cellular operator which launched the country’s third national mobile network in August, says it had signed almost a million subscribers by the end of September. ‘Things are moving much faster than expectations,’ company executive Marwan Al-Ahmadi told Reuters. Around 90% of Zain’s subscribers have signed to pre-paid packages. The firm says it expects to turn its first profit in its second full year of operation and it aims to have networks covering up to 95% of the population within two years, up from 55% currently. ‘Our ultimate aim is to get a third of the market,’ Al-Ahmadi said. ‘This is definitely not going to happen in the short term… I believe we should be able to achieve it in the range of five years.’