Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Saudi Arabia's second-biggest telecom operator, beat forecasts with an 11 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit on Saturday, citing higher data revenues.
Mobily, an affiliate of the UAE's Etisalat, made a first-quarter net profit of SR1.34 billion ($357million), up from SR1.207 billion in the prior-year period, it said in a bourse statement.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Mobily, which competes with the Gulf's No.2 operator Saudi Telecom Co and Zain Saudi, would make a quarterly profit of SR1.37 billion.
Commenting on the results, Mobily chairman Abdul Aziz Al Saghyir said, "The growth of the company will continue to come from the business and data sectors, as it has a clear vision of these needs in the Kingdom, backed by ownership of the largest 3G and 4G networks in the Mena region."
Growth of the Saudi telecoms sector, he stated, will be strongly supported by the positive nature of the Kingdom's economy and increased Governmental spending.
According to Al Saghyir, the business and data sectors were expected to contribute 12 and 30 per cent respectively to 2013 total revenues.
In this regard, Mobily has signed a strategic partnership agreement with (Virtustream) to provide cloud computing services and create the necessary infrastructure to support the business sector based on international standards of efficiency and reliability. The Company will also provide all adjacent services.
Mobily has also signed an agreement with (Jasper), the international provider of M2M solutions, enabling increased efficiency of wireless connectivity between different systems and offering services in smart navigation and remote control systems.
Another contract has been signed to build, connect, and operate integrated telecommunication services for the (Burj Rafal Community) in Riyadh which includes residential apartments, a hotel, and other amenities.
The volume of data being transmitted on Mobilys 4G network, which covers more than 78 per cent of inhabited areas in Saudi Arabia, has now overtaken the advanced 3G network, noted the top official.
He said the average daily volume on the 4G network registered 400 terabytes compared to 350 terabytes on the advanced 3G network, underlining Mobilys execution capability and its exceptional success in launching 4G services in the Kingdom.
Transmitting such huge daily volumes not only requires a solid infrastructure, but also the professional competences, experience, and skilled policymaking in choosing the right technologies.
Al Saghyir said Mobily had adopted innovation as a key theme and driver for growth, working to a clearly defined vision and with the ability to astutely identify investment opportunities.
"It is one of the few companies in the global telecoms sector that enjoys such flexibility in increasing capital expenditure while still raising its cash dividend distribution to shareholders. This is due to its strong financial position, very positive cash flows, and low levels of debt," he added.-Reuters and TradeArabia News Service