Vodafone Qatar has reported a narrower third-quarter net loss partly on a rise in mobile subscribers, but the results missed analysts' estimates.
The firm, an affiliate of London-listed Vodafone, made a net loss of QR122m ($33.5m), according to Reuters calculations. This compares with a loss of QR144m in the same period a year ago.
Two analysts forecast the firm, which starts its financial year on April 1, would post a quarterly loss of between QR113m and QR119m, according to a Reuters survey.
Vodafone Qatar had 797,000 mobile customers as of December 31, up 12 percent from a year ago. In the quarter, it added 15,000 subscribers.
"Vodafone Qatar has continued to deliver improved financial results to shareholders by growing its mobile customer base," Sheikh Abdulrahman bin Saud Al-Thani, Vodafone Qatar's chairman said in an emailed statement.
Vodafone Qatar, which ended Qatar Telecom's (Qtel) domestic monopoly in 2009, said revenue was QR316m in the quarter, up from QR267m a year earlier.
The operator will look to improve indoor coverage, increase data speeds and prepare to launch contract services in the fourth quarter, chief executive Richard Daly said in the statement.
Vodafone Qatar only offers pre-paid mobile contracts at present.
"The company is on the right track, but it still has to solve these problems - once it has proper indoor coverage and can offer post-paid services it will be able to truly compete with Qtel," said Diala Hoteit, NBK Capital telecoms analyst.
"At the moment Vodafone is only competing for pre-paid customers, which have a lower ARPU (average revenue per user)."
Its shares closed 0.4 percent lower on Qatar's bourse before the results were announced, ending at 7.52 riyals. The shares are 25 percent below its 2009 initial public offering price.