UAE-based operator group Etisalat is backing its Saudi Arabian affiliate Mobily after authorities banned it from selling prepaid SIM cards, reports Reuters.

The ban was imposed by the Saudi regulator to force Mobily to meet "prepaid service provisioning requirements" outlined in an order regarding SIM registration rules made in September. If the ban on prepaid SIMs isn’t resolved quickly it could hurt revenue, according to analysts.

Etisalat CEO Ahmad Julfar told Reuters that the company is committed to its relationship with Mobily “as it views the Saudi market as a very important and key market in its portfolio".

Julfar also reiterated his company’s desire to increase its stake in Mobily if there is an opportunity to do so. Etisalat currently holds a 28 percent stake in the Saudi number-two operator.

Mobily has been one of Etisalat’s more successful investments in operations that span 15 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa.