UAE-based Etisalat warned the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic would continue to pressure its business at least for the remainder of 2020, though it failed to stem profit growth during Q3.

Acting CEO Hatem Dowidar said the company’s third quarter exemplified resilience “in these uncertain times”, while paying testament to its previous investments in infrastructure, including its fixed 5G offering, which helped address customers’ needs during the pandemic.

Revenue of AED13 billion ($3.5 billion) was flat year-on-year (0.5 per cent higher), but net profit grew 6 per cent to AED2.4 billion, attributed to higher EBITDA, improved performance by associates and lower federal royalty charges.

It registered net additions of 1.1 million subscribers, taking its total to 149 million, on growth in Mali, Chad, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

The company explained its revenue figure was affected by commercial activities remaining below pre-Covid-19 levels.

In home market UAE, revenue was up 3 per cent to AED7.5 billion, with growth in data, digital, wholesale and TV services offsetting declines in mobile and fixed voice, handset sales and roaming.

Egypt registered the greatest revenue rise out of its divisions, increasing 18 per cent to AED1.1 billion due to strong contributions from mobile data and national roaming.

Pakistan did not fare so well, declining 1.1 per cent to AED700 million, impacted by unfavourable exchange movements.

Etisalat said overall its performance remains below pre-pandemic levels, and heightened macro risks are likely to persist throughout 2020.