Etisalat said it will “continue to focus on creating the world’s best and leading networks”, as it reported solid results for 2017.

“The successful launch of the first pre-commercial 5G in UAE will enable our nation and businesses to achieve transformational growth by leveraging on new-age technologies like IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, cloud and future technologies that will reshape our society and industry on a large scale,” said Saleh Al Abdooli, CEO (pictured).

For the fourth quarter, the company reported a profit of AED1.97 billion ($536.15 million), down 12 per cent year-on-year from AED2.24 billion, on revenue of AED13.48 billion, up 4 per cent.

Despite the growth, the company said revenue was impacted by unfavourable foreign exchange movements, mainly in Egypt. Growth of 3 per cent in UAE to AED8.1 billion was attributed to subscriber growth, including customers spending on premium content and higher-speed packages, increased handset sales due to new devices and exclusive deals, and increased offering of business solutions, digital and ICT services.

Revenue in its International unit increased 7 per cent year-on-year to AED5.3 billion in Q4 2017. Net profit declined due to higher federal royalty charges, higher taxation, and higher minority interest.

Shareholder value
For the full year, the company noted competitive pressure in Moroccan mobile and Pakistani fixed sales. Net profit of AED8.4 billion was flat year-on-year, on revenue of AED51.67 billion, down 1 per cent. The company said at constant currency, revenue increased by 2 per cent.

Eissa Mohamed Al Suwaidi, chairman, said: “Maintaining good performance, despite the global challenges facing the telecom industry, is an evidence that we continue to provide value to our shareholders and customers.”

The company ended 2017 with 142 million subscribers across the group, a like-for-like increase (after excluding subscribers in Nigeria from the 2016 number) of 700,000. With subscriber registration requirements impacting numbers in Saudi Arabia and West Africa, the company cited growth in UAE, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Benin, Togo, Niger, Egypt and Afghanistan.