Dubai: The Etisalat Group’s consolidated revenues for the third-quarter gained more than 2 per cent, to Dh13.2 billion, compared to Dh12.9 billion a year ago.
But the telecom operator said in its Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange filing that profits had dipped by 4.16 per cent to Dh2.3 billion, compared to Dh2.4 billion a year ago, due to higher operating expenses.
“Etisalat Group continues to deliver a solid performance in the third-quarter, due to our focus and effort in the digitalisation of services and solutions,” Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, CEO of Etisalat Group, said in a statement.
The Abu Dhabi-based telco’s operating expenses was up 6.21 per cent to Dh8.54 billion, compared to Dh8.04 billion a year ago. Given the economic pressures and market situation, Etisalat has reported a strong performance with a net growth in revenues, said Sukhdev Singh, executive director of market research and advisory firm Kantar AMRB.
However, he added that it might be difficult for any operator in the region to maintain such a growth over the next quarter or so. “The fixed-line services have seen good growth and have potential for more, as people move to higher internet speeds at home, driven by increasing consumption of online streaming,” he said.
Etisalat, which operates in 16 countries, reported a 2 per cent increase in its nine-month profits, to Dh6.6 billion, compared to Dh6.44 billion a year ago. Revenues increased 3 per cent to Dh39.4 billion from Dh39.18 billion.
The aggregate subscriber base has reached 144 million, representing year-over-year increase of 3 per cent, but unchanged when compared to the second quarter. In the UAE, the subscriber base is 12.5 million compared to 12.7 million in last quarter.
Etisalat has become the first operator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia to offer 5G services, with Expo 2020 Dubai becoming the first commercial customer.
“As we move into the 5G era, our network and talented teams are well equipped to lead the ever-changing requirements of our consumers and the telecom industry. We will continue to focus on creating innovative services, capitalising on opportunities for new revenue streams and enhancing overall customer experience while delivering long-term value for all our stakeholders,” Al Abdooli said
Singh added the company is increasingly focusing on newer technologies, and 5G in particular. “This is a not a surprise as Etisalat has always been known as a forerunner in technology adoption,” he added.