Smaller UAE telecom rivals gain share: Global

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Competition in the UAE telecom market is ringing louder and louder. Despite an increase in overall numbers, telecom major Etisalat reportedly lost market share to Du in the third quarter of last year, according to a Global Investment House study.

The UAE giant lost 2.6 per cent of its market share to Du to 54 per cent in Q3 2014 while the latter increased its market share by 2.4 per cent to 46 per cent while other operators had a market share of 4 per cent, said the Global report. Thuraya is the other smaller mobile satellite services operator in the UAE.

According to Global, Etisalat remains the country's leading telecom operator even as the Kuwaiti investment bank maintains that it lost 460,000 subscribers in Q3 2014 after adding 880,000 in the first quarter. Other mobile operators had an increase of 373,400, the Kuwaiti investment bank said in a note.

Du subscriber base gained 381,000 in Q3 2014 after they shed a similar number of subscribers last quarter. Currently, Du’s total number of mobile subscribers stands at 7.54 million active subscribers.

Etisalat had a higher total mobile subscriber base of 10.8m in Q3 2014 compared to 10.2m in the same quarter last year, a year-on-year growth of 6 per cent. Its mobile subscribers rose to 8.87m in Q3 2014 compared to 8.26m in the same quarter in the previous year.

UAE’s cellular subscriber base increased in Q3 2014 after losing 90,000 in the previous quarter. In Q3 2014, the UAE added 290,000 new mobile subscriptions according to the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

In that quarter, total active mobile subscribers grew by 1.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter and 10.7 per cent year-on-year.

Abu Dhabi-listed Etisalat reported a 22 per cent rise in third-quarter net profit  of Dh2.22 billion in the three months to September 30, 2014. While Du’s net Profit after Royalty in Q3 2014 grew to Dh559 million, a 18 per cent increase on Q3 2013.

According to Global Investment House report, most of the GCC telecom companies reported solid growth numbers during Q3 last year.

The GCC countries have added 630,000 new subscribers excluding Saudi Arabia which represents a 1.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase and 11.9 per cent year-on-year. The region had 87.97 million subscribers at the end of Q2 2014.


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