Dubai: It’s pay-off time for the Dubai-headquartered telecom du. Or the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co., if we are to go by its formal name.
Any way you want to call it, the numbers are starting to look good for the company. The H1-23 numbers follow a fairly solid set of financials for 2022, with du continuing a major network expansion and getting its infrastructure ready for the next-gen technologies. The subscriber base is growing, du’s higher margin products and services are in demand, and the heavy capex is getting results.
Fahad Al Hassawi, the CEO, is basking in the afterglow of the first-half ’23 numbers. This is what he had to say about what comes next for du.
Have your 5G subscriptions grown fast enough among individual customers? Or it still businesses being the biggest chunk of subscribers.
The proliferation of 5G subscriptions has substantially permeated the individual user segment. We attribute this, in no small part, to the monumental surge in the utilization of 5G services by private consumers.
Our network has experienced a noteworthy transition. The number of 5G-capable handset accounts continues to grow in comparison to all handsets served by our network. This clearly underscores the rapid adoption - and integral role - 5G has in our digital landscape.
We anticipate that the take-up of 5G subscriptions will continue to extend significantly to individuals. Faster speeds, lower latency, and enhanced capacity offered by 5G networks will unlock new opportunities for individuals to access a wide range of services and experiences seamlessly.
From immersive entertainment and virtual reality to smart home automation and remote healthcare, the possibilities are endless.
By offering 5G-enabled routers that latch primarily to the 5G network, we are ensuring an improved experience while protecting the 4G network.
Did the H1-23 numbers show a sizeable boost from the increase in the UAE resident base?
Our mobile customer base experienced a remarkable 8 per cent growth, now serving 8 million subscribers. Additionally, our broadband customer base has seen an exemplary year-over-year increase of 18.3 per cent in Q2-23, strengthening our position in the market.
EITC showcased exceptional growth in Q2-23, with a strong revenue growth of 6.7 per cent, to Dh3.35 billion and net profit soaring 31.2 per cent to Dh397 million.
How much, based on your data, do new residents represent of new subscribers won?
Our growth in Q2-2023 can be attributed to various factors, including the overall population growth and the boost in tourism. However, our success in acquiring new subscribers goes beyond the inflow of new residents.
Our focus on delivering personalized experiences has played a significant role in fostering loyalty and attracting new subscribers.
The launch of our ‘Unlimited’ non-stop data plans - coupled with the increasing demand from the enterprise sector - contributed immensely. We achieved our eighth consecutive quarter of postpaid net-additions, with 13,000 new subscribers.
The prepaid customer base registered a year-over-year increase of 7.4 per cent, with 6.5 million customers.
The broadband customer base grew by a remarkable 18.3 per cent year-on-year in Q2, reflecting the success of our strategy in expanding our fiber network.
Telecom services and AI - too early to talk about possibilities?
OpenAI’s ChatGPT powers our Emirati Avatar ‘Khaled’, the result of our collaboration with Microsoft. Khaled effectively showcased our technology’s potential through live commentary during a local Padel tournament and we aim to revolutionise technology interactions by creating unique experiences that engage our customers.
We’re also actively working with clients to leverage AI to deliver personalised services.
Through this year, you’ve kept the capex constant. Will that change in 2024 based on investment needs on 5G networks and even on AI?
Looking to 2024, we anticipate that our investment needs in 5G networks and AI will continue to grow.
EITC recognizes the importance of investing in cutting-edge technologies to meet the demands of the digital era. As we witness the rapidly growing traffic on our 5G network, we are encouraged by the higher adoption rates and the positive impact it has on customer satisfaction.
We remain focused on expanding our fiber network to provide high-speed and reliable broadband services. The disciplined execution of our broadband strategy aligns with our vision of becoming the next digital telco, where we leverage the power of AI and advanced technologies to deliver innovative solutions to our customers.