Etisalat’s newly-installed CEO warned that the operator must “ensure we remain fit-for-purpose,” against the backdrop of “a challenging set of circumstances facing the telecoms industry today”.
The comments were made in line with the company’s Q1 results.
“Innovations such as the Internet of Things and the cloud, as well as vertical digital solutions, are no longer vague concepts, but are the basis of an exciting and prosperous future that will determine our long-term profitability,” Saleh Al Abdooli said.
The operator has previously said it is reviewing its structure, with it today stating that it is looking at areas including optimising its efficiency and improving its operating model effectiveness; enhancing customer experience; optimising its operating companies, network and platform synergies; and accelerating the launch of new digital services.
“Our history is distinguished by bold, yet prudent decisions, which have enabled us to grow and develop,” the CEO said.
Etisalat reported a Q1 net profit of AED2 billion ($544.5 million), down 8 per cent year-on-year, on revenue of AED12.85 billion, up 1 per cent.
Revenue growth was attributed to its domestic operations and Maroc Telecom, with exchange rate movements in Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan, and “aggressive price competition in certain markets” limiting growth.
With regard to profitability, it noted factors including higher regulatory charges, higher interconnection and termination rate fees, higher depreciation expenses and forex losses.
It ended the period with 165 million subscribers, a loss of 1.8 million year-on-year, due to subscriber disconnections related to regulatory requirements in some markets.