Etisalat Group reported a five per cent increase in net profit to AED 2.2 billion compared to AED 2.1 billion a year ago.
The Abu Dhabi-based telecom operator, which operates in 16 markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, said in a regulatory filing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, that its revenues increased by 2% to Dh13 billion.
The operator’s statement did not give more details about its UAE operations but said that its subscriber base reached 12.6 million in the first quarter while its aggregate subscriber base reached 143 million, representing a year over year increase of 2%.
“Etisalat’s solid performance of the first quarter is a promising start for 2019, an extension for our achievements of last year, and a testimony to drive the digital future to empower societies,” said Saleh Abdullah Al Abdooli, Etisalat Group CEO.
He said that Etisalat will continue its endeavour towards network modernisation and investment in future technologies such IoT and AI powered by the deployment of the 5G network which will enable the company to address its growing customer and business aspirations with innovative services and solutions.
“We are confident that 5G will bring a wealth of opportunities in the socio-economic development of the UAE,” he said.
The operator’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), a measure of a company's operating performance, totalled Dh6.6 billion, representing an increase of two per cent year over year.
New lines of revenue
Given the changing market space and introduction of 5G in the near future, Sukhdev Singh, executive director at research and consulting services provider Kantar, told TechRadar Middle East, that it is good to note that Etisalat is again taking a lead by introducing new lines of revenues to its business.
“A testimony of this is the introduction of cloud-based gaming directly to TV sets from a set-top box. Even the investments in the development of AI and Blockchain from Etisalat are indicative of the future direction of the industry as a whole,” he said.
Moreover, he said that it is worth noting that the growth in net profit is more than the revenue, indicating a focus on high-value adding services with higher margin.
Last year, the group reported a 2.4 per cent increase in full–year profit to Dh8.6 billion compared to Dh8.4 billion a year ago while its consolidated revenues reached Dh52.4 billion, an increase of more than one per cent compared to Dh51.7 billion a year ago.
“Etisalat is likely to consolidate its revenues from the forthcoming data centres it is launching in conjunction with Microsoft,” Singh said.
“Data centre solutions are one of the high growth areas for the region over the next few years. The GCC region expects at least 3-4 new entrants this year in this space.”
Moreover, he said that Etisalat has also aggressively started offering cloud solutions, IoT-linked services, and cyber security among many other services to the enterprise segment.