UAE's e& posts 7% rise in profit as subscriber base grows

Abu Dhabi company reports strong performance across its operations in the first quarter

In the UAE, e& became the first company outside North America to deploy Microsoft’s Azure Operator Nexus and Azure Operator 5G Core solutions. Photo: E-Vision
Powered by automated translation

UAE telecoms and technology company e&, formerly known as the Etisalat Group, reported a 7 per cent jump in its first quarter net profit as its number of subscribers grows.

Net profit attributable to the owners of the company for the three months to the end of March rose to Dh2.33 billion ($630 million), from Dh2.18 billion during the same period last year, the company said in a statement on Tuesday to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

Revenue for the telecoms operator reached Dh14.2 billion in the first quarter, up 9 per cent compared with the Dh13 billion recorded in the same period last year.

The company's UAE subscriber base grew 4.5 per cent annually to 14.5 million while aggregate subscribers rose 5 per cent on an annual basis to 173 million. The mobile subscriber base increased by 5.3 per cent on a yearly basis to 12.8 million subscribers, attributed to "solid year-on-year growth in both the prepaid and postpaid segments", the company said. On the fixed platform, eLife subscriptions increased annually by 5.1 per cent to 1.2 million subscribers.

“The group’s efforts towards forming new partnerships across the business ecosystem to deploy emerging technologies that drive next-generation digital connectivity has played a significant role in this success journey,” said chairman Jassem Al Zaabi.

During the first quarter, e& and its partners in the Global Telco AI Alliance announced a joint venture to develop telecom-specific Large Language Models to boost customer service through advanced AI solutions.

During the last quarter, the company also made a commitment to the International Telecommunication Union’s Partner2Connect Digital Coalition, and pledged to invest $6 billion between this year and 2026 in technological advancement, infrastructure development and digital solutions to extend connectivity to communities across its markets.

In the UAE, e& became the first company outside North America to deploy Microsoft’s Azure Operator Nexus and Azure Operator 5G Core solutions.

“Our evolution as a tech-co that embraces the future is reflected in our Q1 financial results, building on the momentum of last year’s success,” said chief executive Hatem Dowidar.

The first quarter's performance “is a testament of the strategic choices we’ve made in diversifying our portfolio, fortifying our brand, and cementing partnerships in our unrelenting efforts to digitally empower the people and communities we serve while maximising value creation for our shareholders”, he said.

Last year, e& reported an increase of about 3 per cent in its net profit on the back of robust economic growth in the markets it serves.

Net profit attributable to shareholders of the company in the 12 months ended December rose to more than Dh10.3 billion, from Dh10 billion in 2022, the company said in February.

E& is open to acquisitions or partnerships that will allow it to diversify its portfolio, expand locally and overseas, and increase its consumer base, the company's executives previously told The National.

The company is also projected to lead revenue growth in the GCC telecoms sector this year as companies shore up their assets in new international markets, according to Moody's Investors Service.

By acquiring assets in new regions and offering products and services there, telecoms companies are expected to boost their 2023-2024 revenue by an average of 3 per cent, the New York-based rating agency's study showed.

Updated: April 30, 2024, 6:56 PM