Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has published its financial results for the three months ended 30 June 2014 on the Saudi Stock Exchange’s (Tadawul’s) website, reporting a 96.15% surge in net profit to SAR2.803 billion (USD747.37 million) up from the SAR1.429 billion reported in the corresponding period of 2013. The company attributed the improvements to a number of factors, including: a non-recurring and non-cash charge of SAR604 million from losses resulting from assets held for sale related to Axis (Indonesia) in 2Q13; a decrease in losses from investments by SAR759 million in the twelve months to 31 June 2014; and the decrease in ‘other income and expenses’ by SAR283 million. STC reported that its revenue for 1H14 amounted to SAR22.505 billion, a 2% decline on the SAR22.907 billion reported in the six months to end-June 2013. Despite that, the company’s EBITDA improved, growing 13% year-on-year, to SAR8.970 billion.
In operational terms, STC continued the expansion of its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network footprint by installing 202 new 4G sites in Makkah and Medina, which represents an increase of 44% compared to last year. The operator also pointed out that its 4G population coverage reached 85% by end-June 2014. In terms of 2G and 3G networks, STC added 226 new 3G sites in the period under review, while its 2G network has been reinforced with 248 additional base stations. STC continued with the deployment of its fibre-optic networks, and as a result fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) customers increased by 44% in the year to end-June 2014, and 11% on a quarter-on-quarter basis.
STC chairman and managing director Abdulaziz Al-Sugair commented: ‘We will continue with our ongoing efforts to remain customer-centric, which is clearly delivering results … The first half of this year witnessed a huge increase in data traffic over the 4G network with an unprecedented growth, where the monthly data volume over the 4G network surpassed the total data traffic over the 3G and 2G networks together, by 9%. During the first half [of 2014] data traffic over the 2G and 3G network grew by 196% when compared to same period last year. Therefore, STC will continue with [its deployment of] 4G as [our] coverage during Q2 2014 reached around 85% of populated areas.’