The mobile network du has added 156,000 new subscribers with a series of discount offers in the same quarter that its competitor, Etisalat, lost more than 80,000 customers. In second-quarter results announced yesterday, du reported a total of 2.9 million active mobile customers. It also said revenues jumped by 12 per cent on the previous quarter to reach Dh1.31 billion (US$357 million). "The very good news is, not only are we adding subscribers but they are spending more than ever before," said Osman Sultan, the chairman of du. Profits more than doubled du's first-quarter figures to reach Dh115m. The company now estimates it has a 30 per cent share of the mobile market, although a direct comparison with subscriber numbers at Etisalat is difficult. Etisalat announced a total of 7.26 million subscribers in quarterly results earlier in the month, but does not report its number of active subscribers, or customers who have made or received calls and messages in the previous three months. Etisalat made a profit of Dh2.41bn in the same period, driven by strong revenue growth in its domestic and international operations. By the end of next year, du aims to have a 35 per cent share of the UAE mobile market. It also aims to increase use of mobile broadband on its network, saying devices such as the BlackBerry mobile e-mail handset will be a focus. It also hopes to launch the Apple iPhone. "We are a growth story and like any growth story, the time will come when this growth starts to flatten," Mr Sultan said after the release of the results. "But we're not seeing any sign of that happening yet." The company is taking similar steps to those made by Etisalat last year, placing more emphasis on increasing revenues from its customers rather than just adding new ones. "We want to grow but not at the expense of value for shareholders. We want to grow and profit," Mr Sultan said. "I wouldn't be adding hundreds of thousands of subscribers if they were not generating money." The UAE's second telecoms firm built its subscriber base through a series of value for money discount offers. Now it will need to look more at value-added services and premium products to keep revenues growing. Its Elite plan, launched in April, was the first major package from du to aim for higher-spending users. It was credited yesterday with attracting at least 17,000 new post-paid customers who receive a monthly bill, generally spend more and are less likely to defect to the competition. "We need to ramp up our value and go after post-paid customers," Mr Sultan said. "It is working and it is clearly the Elite plan that is driving this." email@example.com
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