Etisalat CEO Saleh Al Abdooli hailed the potential impact of 5G on the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as the operator reported a small increase in Q3 revenue.

Commenting in the earnings statement, Abdooli said the company is making “good progress” on 5G trials in the UAE, “an investment that will enable our nation and our businesses to achieve transformational growth by leveraging the Internet of Things and cloud”.

Just last week Mobile World Live reported on the UAE’s plan to have commercial 5G networks up and running by 2020.

Following on from an internal restructure, completed in Q2, Abdooli added the company’s growth is now “underpinned by our continued investments in next-generation services and solutions”. He also talked up the company’s 4G LTE network, and commitment to delivering fibre to the home in its domestic market.

During the quarter, the company saw revenue hit AED13.2 billion ($3.6 billion), a 3 per cent increase from AED13 billion in the same period last year, while consolidated net profit after federal royalty was flat at AED1.9 billion.

The company said the net profit figure was a 16 per cent year on year increase, after adjusting the impact of the sale of Sudanese fixed-line player Canar, a deal which completed in August.

Etisalat, which directly and indirectly operates across 18 markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, saw revenue in its home market UAE increase 4 per cent to AED7.5 billion, while Morocco’s Maroc Telecom was its second largest contributor, delivering revenue of AED3.3 billion, a growth of 2 per cent.

Subscribers in the UAE, meanwhile, grew to 12.2 million, growth of 5 per cent, which it said was driven by the strong performance of mobile and its home entertainment package eLife.