x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Contrasting fortunes for Egypt's telecom operators

Arab Spring economies: There were mixed results for Egypt's biggest telecommunications companies during the first quarter of the year. Here is how some of them fared.

Egypt's biggest telecommunications companies posted a mixed set of results in the first quarter as this year got off to a shaky start.

Telecom Egypt, the country's only fixed-line operator, reported net profit of 912 million Egyptian pounds (Dh552.4m) for the first quarter, a 1.7 per cent rise compared with the same period a year earlier.

The company also reiterated it would consider applying for a mobile virtual network operator licence.

But its rivals did not fare as well. Orascom Telecom, an Egyptian firm bought last year by Russia's VimpelCom, said its first-quarter net income fell 85 per cent to $120.4m (Dh442.2m) compared with a year earlier, when profit soared on the sale of a stake in its Tunisian business.

The company said its subscriber base grew 15.2 per cent to exceed 82 million at the end of the first quarter. Mobinil said it swung to a first-quarter net loss of 74m Egyptian pounds after costs rose as the company upgraded its network. Mobinil had been the market leader in terms of subscribers until 2009, but local rivals Vodafone Egypt, owned by Telecom Egypt, and Etisalat have been eating up its market share.

Mobinil's total mobile-subscriber base stood at 32.6 million subscribers by the end of March, a 7.5 per cent increase from the same period last year.

* Farah Halime

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