Kuwait’s second largest mobile operator Wataniya Telecom, a unit of state-owned Qatar Telecommunications, has reported its second-quarter profit increased 47.4% to KWD26.5 million (USD99.70 million) year-on-year. Proceeds from the liquidation of Iraq operator Asiacell in which it owned a stake are likely to account for much of the increase.
Wataniya benefited from subscriber growth in all its markets, and saw an overall year-on-year rise in customers of 33.9% taking the total to 10.37 million at the end of June 2008. In its home market subscriber numbers increased 15% to 1.27 million. It saw a 23% rise in subscribers in Tunisia taking the total number to 3.9 million, as its Tunisian operator Tunisiana’s first-half net profit rose 68.4% to KWD9.6 million. The biggest percentage increase in subscribers came in Algeria where customers increased 65% to 4.9 million. The Algerian operator Nedjma narrowed its net loss in the first six months of 2008 to KWD100,000 from KWD4.7 million twelve months previously.
Wataniya currently competes with Zain in the Kuwaiti mobile market while Saudi Telecom is to launch as a third operator later this year. In the light of increased competition at home, the company has said it is looking to increase its international operations and plans to start operating in the Palestinian territories later in 2008, and is interested in Syria. It is also expected to bid for a stake in one of Lebanon’s two state-owned mobile phone operators.