du, which recently moved into a new HQ at Dubai Hills, rang up solid gains on all key numbers for 2022. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: An 8.9 per cent rise in mobile service subscribers and demand for its broadband ensured UAE telecom du record Dh12.75 billion in 2022 revenues, up 9.2 per cent. Plus, there continues to be sustained demand for 5G handsets and with it related – and premium – subscriber services.

The du Board of Directors is recommending an increase in full-year dividend to 24 fils per share. (Shareholders received 11 fils a share were paid as an interim dividend in August last.) The full-year 2022 dividend represents a 14.3 per cent increase and a distribution of 99.1 per cent of net profit after appropriation for statutory reserves.

du delivered a net profit of Dh1.22 billion (against Dh923 million in 2021) and an operating free cashflow of nearly Dh3 billion. "Notwithstanding sustained investments, our business remains highly cash generative and our balance sheet solid with AED 5.3 billion in available liquidity," said Malek Sultan Al Malek, Chairman.

2022 was an extraordinary year - our business performed exceptionally well thanks to a robust economic environment fueled by population growth, an increase in tourism activity, GDP growth as well as our strong commercial momentum

- Malek Sultan Al Malek of du

Emphasis on recovery

According to Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO, “In 2022, we accelerated the recovery that we initiated the previous year. Our new mobile products such as unlimited mobile data plans helped us reverse the declining trend in our mobile business.

"Our new fixed-home wireless services have been extremely well-received and has attracted a new segment of customers. This allowed us to deliver an excellent 9.2 per cent growth in revenues to reach Dh12.75 billion, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

We made tangible progress on our 5G network rollout, fiber deployment and IT transformation. I would particularly praise my team for their management of the cost base in an inflationary environment and their continuous effort to transform the business.

- Fahad Al Hassawi

Mobile adds up

du ended 2022 with 7.9 million subscribers, with 'strong net additions' in Q4-222 of 494,000. This came about from growth in post-paid customers as well as 'significant increase' in pre-paid customers. The postpaid customer base grew 10.7 per cent to 1.5 million for 2022.

On fixed lines, du had 537,000 subscribers - 'Our customer base has grown consistently throughout each quarter. This solid performance was driven by our commercial initiatives across various product categories and the disciplined execution of our broadband strategy," the company said. (This included 5G services piped into subscriber homes, which also included promotional offers.)

'Other revenues'
du saw lower 'other revenues' in Q4-22, down by 1.6% to Dh903 million as wholesale activities reduced. While ICT services grew at a 'healthy pace', equipment revenues were down 9.5% due to supply chain issues. On a full-year basis, 'other revenues' remained stable at Dh3.53 billion.