Saudi unit of UAE's Etisalat says growth in sales of smart phones boosts performance
Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Saudi Arabia's second-biggest telecom operator, has missed analysts' forecasts with an 11 percent rise in first-quarter net profit.
Mobily, an affiliate of the United Arab Emirates' Etisalat , made a first-quarter net profit of SR1.340bn, up from SR1.207bn in the prior-year period, with the company citing higher data revenues 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 SR1.37bn.
Mobily's revenue for the three months to March 31 was SR5.63bn, up from SR5.01bn from the prior-year period.
"This stems from the growth in sales of smart phones and the increase in data revenues, which accounted for 30 percent of turnover for the period," the company said in its statement.
Revenue from data and corporate customers will drive Mobily earnings growth, the company's chief executive told Reuters in January.
The focus on these two segments reflects market dynamics in the kingdom, where conventional call margins have slumped due to increased competition between operators and the rising use substitute services such as Internet-based phone calls and instant messaging.