Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) is reporting a 28 per cent increase in third-quarter revenues and a net profit increase of 50 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2010.
Othman Sultan, chief executive officer, said in a teleconference call yesterday that "we have had the best revenue in a quarter in the history of the company."
He attributed the growth mainly to mobile phone revenues.
Third-quarter revenues increased to Dh2.23 billion from Dh1.74 billion the year before while net profit increased to Dh244 million, up from Dh163 million earned in the same quarter last year.
Sultan noted that the company — introduced in 2007 as a competitive alternative to etisalat — has enjoyed "another quarter of growth. This is not unusual, it is not a surprise."
Its net profit exceeded the predicted growth for this quarter by Dh30 million. The latest figures bring profit for the first three quarters to Dh657 million from the Dh397 million earned in the same period last year. Earnings per share rose from Dh0.03 in third quarter 2010 to Dh0.5 this quarter.
Sultan told reporters that du added 162,000 new mobile customers in the third quarter, bringing the mobile total to Dh4.9 million.
The company also enjoyed a 24 per cent increase in its fixed-line customer base, adding 16,100 new lines in the last quarter. Landline customers now number 639,700, up from 515,400 in the same quarter a year ago.
Sultan pointed out that despite being given a 15 per cent royalty decree in 2010, this year du was still provisioning for a 50 per cent royalty at the same level as was levied upon etisalat in 2010.
He declined to hazard a guess on whether du would build on its current 45 per cent market share to overtake etisalat, adding that he was "more focused on growth of the top line."
Sultan said he is working "to bring more value to the company."
He attributed large growth this quarter to "our consistent delivery of innovative products and service initiatives and ongoing improvements in customer care and service." Improved customer care is helping du "attract high-value postpaid customers," he said.
Postpaid mobile subscribers now represent 6.9 per cent of du's customer base.
Hasan Sandila, telecommunications analyst for IDC Middle East, Turkey and Africa, told Gulf News yesterday that du is a huge draw for post-paid customers.
"The consistent increase in du's popularity in the emirates is not just because it represents alternative competition to etisalat, but also because du has been very effective in launching innovative products and service initiatives," Sandila said.
"Initially, du was mostly popular among the pre-paid segment, but due to its continued efforts to enhance customer service, it has now gained significant popularity among the high-value postpaid customers."
Strong domestic growth
Du is enjoying meatier domestic financial revenues than etisalat, results from both camps suggest.
Du increased its market share to 45 per cent, but gains may be coming at the expense of etisalat's domestic profit.
While etisalat saw a Dh937.8 million increase in its international revenues in the first nine months to Dh6.1 billion, its domestic revenues fell almost a quarter of a billion dirhams.
In its third-quarter earnings report on November 18, etisalat's domestic revenues fell by Dh244 million to Dh18.04 billion in the first nine months of 2011.
By contrast, du reported an increase of Dh1.41 billion in revenues in the first nine months of this year to Dh6.44 billion from Dh5.02 billion for the same period in 2010.
The domestic fall in revenues for etisalat was compounded by a 22 per cent increase in operating expenses for the first three quarters, adding Dh937.5 million in costs from Dh4.20 billion in expenses in 2010 to Dh5.14 billion this year.
Du witnessed less than half that increase with a Dh463.4 million increase in the first nine months in operating expenses to Dh2.89 billion from Dh2.46 billion in the same period in 2010.