Zain Saudi trims Q4 net loss, boosts network

Saudi Mobile Telecommunications Co (Zain KSA) trimmed its fourth quarter net losses by 21 per cent year-on-year as it increased its customer base and widened network coverage, it said on Sunday.

The kingdom's newest mobile phone operator made a net loss of 521 million riyals ($138.9 million) in the three months to end December, compared with 657 million riyals in the same period a year earlier, it said in a stock exchange statement.

"The decline in losses for the fourth-quarter of 2010 is due to the widening of our customer base which exceeded 8 million customers... and an increase in network coverage," it said.

Four analysts surveyed by Reuters forecast, on average, a net loss of 431.4 million riyals in the quarter.

Revenues rose by 132 per cent to 826 million riyals while operational loss fell by 59 per cent to 179 million riyals, the firm said.

Zain Saudi paid a hefty $6 billion for its licence and has borrowed heavily to fend off cash-rich rivals-- state-controlled Saudi Telecom Co and Mobily , which is affiliated to Emirates Telecommunications .

Shares in Zain Saudi closed at 8.15 riyals on Saturday.

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