UAE telco’s Q1-2021 numbers get a lift from broadband subscriptions, iPhone 12 sales

Stock du telecom
On a year-on-year basis, du’s revenues and profit slipped. But the operator shows that it’s on the fast track to recovery from the pandemic created disruptions. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The telecom operator du saw first quarter 2021 revenue and net profit drop from a year ago – but on a quarter-on-quarter basis, the gains are starting to show up.

Between January to end March, du recorded revenues of Dh2.88 billion (Dh2.99 billion in Q1-2020), while net profit was at Dh257 million (Dh355 million a year ago). But revenues were up 5.2 per cent from the October-December period, “reflecting gradual improvement in the general environment,” a statement said.

The net profit was up a more substantial 38.7 per cent when excluding the goodwill impairment charge in Q4-2020. du also got help from other revenues in the first three months, gaining 7.6 per cent year-on-year to AED 908 million. This came about from wholesale revenues, its ICT services, and “strong demand for the iPhone 12”.

Dh568 million

du’s capital expenditure during the first quarter

Capex targets

Fahad Al Hassawi, Acting CEO of EITC (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co.) said: “Mobility is increasing with the hospitality sector opening up, international tourism improving and people adapting their lives to COVID-19 situation. Telecommunication needs remains a key component of everyone’s life. Our capital allocation plan is validated by encouraging broadband net-adds trends and sell-through of iPhone 12.”

During the quarter, du added 13,000 broadband customers – “nearly as much as the annual net-adds in previous years”. It was last year that du launched a corporate restructuring and transformation plan… and the results are on track. “We deliberately stepped up our capital allocation,” the official added. “The new operating model seeks to deliver deeper and more personalised customer engagement, a faster go-to-market approach, and a performance-driven culture.”

  1. du’s mobile revenues stabilised at Dh1.31 billion during the first three months, helped by a 1.9% growth in subscribers to 6.8 million. This mitigates a “slight” dilution in ARPU (average revenue per user).
  2. On a year-on-year comparison, mobile revenues recorded a 12.7 per cent erosion “given that COVID-19 had limited impact on Q1-2020”. An improving customer mix helped push ARPU higher by 2.9% year-over-year to Dh87.
  3. Fixed revenues was up 2.8% quarter-on-quarter and 3.4% year-on-year. It reached an “all-time high” of Dh663 million.