Dubai: The head of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) said he expected current challenges facing the company to persist, specifically from mobile revenues.
Osman Sultan, du’s chief executive officer, said on Wednesday that the entire telecom industry is challenged, with margins now squeezed, and the market in the UAE reaching maturity.
He said, however, that in du’s case, the decline in mobile revenues is partially offset by an increase in revenues from fixed services, and expected the drop to be “contained” and “mitigated” for 2019.
His comments come after the company reported a 13.5 per cent decline in its net profit for the third quarter of 2019 to reach Dh318 million, driven by lower revenues. This was amid a decline in the number of mobile subscribers by 10.6 per cent, which resulted in a 9.8 per cent drop in revenues from mobile services.
Meanwhile, the number of fixed line subscribers inched up by 1.5 per cent, but lead to a 7.7 per cent jump in fixed revenues.
In a conference call with journalists, Sultan said that du is pressing on with an efficiency programme, which allows the company to mitigate some of the pressure it is facing.
“We will of course continue to focus on this efficiency because we are foreseeing the continued pressure on mobile revenues, and specifically on the prepaid segment. As you know, we are a little bit more exposed to the prepaid segment historically,” the CEO said.
He added that such efficiency efforts come in the form of increased digitisation in du’s operations, but said that the company is not axing jobs to cut costs.
Going forward, du believes its new revenue streams will be from being an internet presence provider, particularly for companies and government departments, and from providing digital services. Sultan said the company is trying to “monetise as much as possible digital capabilities.”
Du is also accelerating its deployment of 5G networks, which will be launched in the UAE in 2020, as per the timeline set by the country’s Telecommunications Regulator Authority.