Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) has reported consolidated revenue of AED9.899 billion (USD2.7 billion) for the first three months of 2014, an increase of 3% from AED9.604 billion in the year-ago quarter. Growth was driven by an 8% year-on-year rise in domestic turnover to AED6.5 billion, resulting from increased demand for ‘eLife’ multi-play services, handset sales and mobile data services. Revenue from international operations declined 3% year-on-year to AED3.3 billion for the first three months of 2014. Egyptian unit Etisalat Misr generated turnover of AED1.1 billion in the quarter, an increase of 1% from the prior-year period and up by 5% in local currency, mainly thanks to growth in data services. The Asia cluster saw revenue decline by 7% to AED1.5 billion, due to currency devaluation in Pakistan, as well as increasing competitive pressures and elections in Afghanistan, while Africa cluster revenue decreased 1% year-on-year in Q1 2014 to AED700 million, attributed to competitive environment in Cote d’Ivoire and currency devaluation in Sudan. Etisalat, which is 60% owned by the UAE government, said that EBITDA fell 2% from AED5.035 billion in 1Q13 to AED4.939 billion a year later, thanks to higher interconnection and termination costs, higher handset costs and special expenses, as well as due to a one-time credit recorded in 1Q13 from the consolidation of its Pakistan operations. Meanwhile, consolidated net profit after royalty rose 11% to AED2.024 billion in the first quarter of 2014 from AED1.825 billion a year earlier, due to higher share of results of associates that was partially diluted by an increase in taxation, lower finance income and higher royalty. Totalling AED900 million in Q1 2014, consolidated capital expenditure was 14% lower than the year-ago period.
At the end of March 2014 Etisalat reported an aggregate subscriber base of 145 million, an increase of 3% from 141 million a year earlier. Domestic mobile customers grew 20% year-on-year to 8.9 million, while UAE fixed line subscribers (including eLife and broadband customers) rose 2% to 2.0 million. The company said that the customer base of its Asian cluster fell 2% year-on-year to 35.7 million, although the Africa segment reported a 12% increase in customers to 30.7 million at 31 March 2014, driven by subscriber acquisitions in Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Gabon and Niger.