Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), Saudi Arabia's second-biggest telecom operator, beat analysts' forecasts with an 11 per cent rise in first-quarter net profit on Saturday, citing higher data revenues.
Mobily, an affiliate of the United Arab Emirates' Etisalat, made a first-quarter net profit of 1.34 billion Saudi riyals, up from 1.21bn riyals in the prior-year period, it said in a bourse statement.
Analysts polled by Reuters on average forecast Mobily would make a quarterly profit of 1.37bn riyals.
Mobily's revenue for the three months to March 31 was 5.63bn riyals, up from 5.01bn riyals from the prior-year period.
"This stems from the growth in sales of smart phones and the increase in data revenues, which accounted for 30 per cent of turnover for the period," the company said in its statement.
Revenue from data and corporate customers will drive Mobily earnings growth, the company's chief executive told Reuters in January.
The focus on these two segments reflects market dynamics in the kingdom, where conventional call margins have slumped due to increased competition between operators and the rising use substitute services such as internet-based phone calls and instant messaging.