Oman’s second national telecoms operator Nawras has announced its unaudited financial results for the three months ended 30 September 2012, posting a 4.7% year-on-year decline in revenue to OMR46.9 million (USD121.5 million) from OMR49.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Nine-month sales fell 2.7% from OMR146.1 million in 2011 to OMR142.1 million in the same period of 2012. In a statement to the Muscat Securities Market, the company said that sales were hit by a reduction in SMS revenues which was only partially offset by growth in mobile and fixed data revenue. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) totalled OMR20.8 million in Q3 2012, a decrease of 24.4% from OMR27.5 million in the third quarter of 2011, and fell 10.0% in 9M12 to OMR69.0 million. Nawras said that EBITDA for the year had been affected by lower gross margin and higher operating expenses, mainly due to higher network maintenance costs. Net profit meanwhile totalled OMR7.2 million in Q3 2012, down 46.7% from OMR13.5 million in the year-ago quarter, and dropped 25.0% from OMR35.6 million in the first nine months of 2011 to OMR26.7 million in the corresponding period of 2012, as a result of higher depreciation costs and lower EBITDA.
Nawras, which is majority owned by Qatar Telecom (Qtel), reported a 9.3% year-on-year increase in its customer base to 2.129 million at 30 September 2012. Of that total, mobile customers accounted for 2.09 million, including 177,747 post-paid subscribers (up 2.4% from end-September 2012) and 1.913 million pre-paid customers (up 8.9%). Fixed line subscribers totalled 38,018 at the end of the first nine months of 2012, up from 17,090 twelve months earlier. ‘The total number of customers has continued to grow for the third consecutive quarter of this year led by a sustained increase in the pre-paid customer base,’ commented CEO Ross Cormack, adding: ‘Late in the third quarter, we successfully completed the first stage of turbocharging the Nawras network at Wilayat Al Amerat as the modernisation of our base stations to the latest technology continued. Upgrading our core network and introducing a new carrier at 1800MHz will allow our customers to benefit from greater capacity and an enriched quality of service via faster broadband speeds. The launch of Long Term Evolution (LTE) by the end of the year will take communications to a new level with the customer experience further enhanced in Q1 2013 with the roll out of wider and deeper 3G+ coverage including in-building.’