Vodafone Qatar loss narrows as users rise
Doha, June 7, 2012
Vodafone Qatar, an affiliate of London-listed Vodafone Group, reported a narrowing fourth-quarter net loss on Thursday as its revenue and subscriber base rose.
The telecoms operator made a net loss of 126.6 million riyals ($34.78 million) in the three months to March 31, according to Reuters calculations. This compares with a loss of 143.9 million riyals in the year-earlier period. Vodafone Qatar's financial year starts on April 1.
One analyst polled by Reuters forecast the firm would make a quarterly loss of 116 million riyals.
Vodafone Qatar, which ended Qatar Telecom's (Qtel) domestic monopoly in 2009, made a full-year loss of 486 million riyals, it said in a statement. This compares with a loss of 600.7 million riyals in the previous financial year. The operator's full-year revenue was 1.2 billion riyals, up from 935 million riyals in the corresponding period of 2011.
Vodafone Qatar's mobile customer market share was 28.5 percent as of March 31, while it had 837,233 customers, up 11 percent. Its revenue market share was 24.5 percent. The firm told analysts last year that it expected mobile number portability would be introduced by January 2012, but this will now launch on November 17, chief executive Richard Daly told a press conference in Doha.
Number portability allows customers to keep the same phone number when switching operators and could help Vodafone Qatar win subscribers from Qtel.
Vodafone Qatar has also yet to introduce post-paid contracts for individual customers, having previously predicted it would do so by April 2012.
'We're very close to launching post-paid (contracts),' Daly added. Post-paid subscribers are typically wealthier and spend more on telecoms as well as being less likely to switch operators and Daly estimated this market was worth 1.7 billion riyals annually. - Reuters
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