Etihad Etisalat weighed on Saudi Arabia's main equity index yesterday after the kingdom's second-biggest telecoms operator said the regulator had halted its sale of new prepaid Sim cards.
Etihad Etisalat said it will be able to resume selling prepaid cards only when it "fully meets the prepaid service provisioning requirements".
Etihad Etisalat, also known as Mobily, fell as much as 1.72 per cent in mid-afternoon trading. The shares closed 2.06 per cent lower to 71.25 Saudi riyals each.
In Abu Dhabi, shares in the UAE telecoms company Etisalat, which is a major shareholder in Mobily, slipped 0.2 per cent to Dh9.92 each.
"We believe for now that the impact would be minimal, especially that Mobily can always mitigate it with offers more focused on postpaid or data segments," said Nadine Ghobrial, an analyst at EFG Hermes, in a note to clients.
Still, the note cautioned that "if that 'partial' suspension is in place for a long time, a quarter or a couple of quarters, then this could potentially become an issue".
The Saudi Tadawul All-Share Index fell 2.12 per cent to close at 6,524.15.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange General Index fell 0.2 per cent to 2,636.53 points, while the Dubai Financial Market General Index added 0.3 per cent to 1,601.84.
Elsewhere in the region: Kuwait's measure slipped 0.1 per cent to 5,878.75; Bahrain's index added 0.2 per cent to 1,040.93; Oman's MSM 30 Index slipped 0.1 per cent to 5,546.05; and Qatar's QE Index added 0.4 per cent to 8,448.35.