Qtel, Qatar’s incumbent telecom operator, experienced a 36.5% decline in net profit in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period last year.
The telco’s Q1 net profit reached QR800 million compared with QR1.2 billion in Q1 2010.
Qtel attributed the decline to a one-off royalty payment of QR554 million to the Qatari government.
“Net profit attributable to Qtel Shareholders increased by 15.7% when normalised for a one-off favourable decision on the royalty regime in Qatar in 2010,” Qtel said in a statement.
Qtel said that it has “continued strong revenue and profit momentum” during the first quarter, fuelled by a strong performance from its international operational portfolio.
Group revenue increased by 16.5% to QAR 7.5 billion in Q1 compared with QAR 6.4 billion a year earlier.
Meanwhile, Qtel’s group customer base grew by 13.9% to reach 75.6 million in the first three months of the year, compared with 66.4 million at the end of Q1 2010.
Dr. Nasser Marafih, CEO, Qtel Group said the company was well positioned to “capture the high growth offered by emerging economies”.
“Our mature markets have delivered good returns; our operations in competitive markets continue to efficiently manage the increasing competition; and our emerging markets remain rich in opportunity, both for customer growth and service innovation,” Marafih said.
He added that Qtel was investing in “key service areas” including digital services and social media.