BY MOHAMMAD SHOEB
DOHA: Vodafone Qatar is set to launch its 4G network services from June 3. This was announced by Kyle Whitehill, Chief Executive Officer of the company during a press conference yesterday.
The telecom major has also announced that its Board of Directors has recommended distributing maiden dividend of 17 dirhams (QR0.17) per share to its 38,000 shareholders, which is subject to approval by the company’s annual ordinary general assembly meeting to be held on June 18.
“We have witnessed a massive improvement in our 2G and 3G services, and we are going to launch our 4G services from June 3rd,” said Whitehill, adding that as a result of better services the company has witnessed a significant 22 percent increase in the customer base (year-on-year) reaching over 1.32 million.
However, he did to provide further details about the 4G network coverage area, and whether the ‘Key’ to avail the 4G network service will be free. Whitehill said: “There will be a formal announcement for the launch of the 4G service in a ceremony to be held on June 2 at Katara, where we will share all the details regarding the 4G service.”
The company reported a remarkable 30 percent growth in its revenue year-on-year to QR1.98bn for the year ended March 31, 2014.
Qatar Vodafone’s mobile customer market share has increased to 33.8 percent while the average revenue per user (ARPU) improved by 4 percent to QR126.
The company has reported a distributable profit of QR157m for the period compared to QR2m for the corresponding period last year.
Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani Al Thani, Chairman of Vodafone Qatar, in a statement, said: “We continue to deliver solid growth in our fifth full year of operations with strong revenue growth of 30 percent over the year to reach QR1.98bn. As a result, our mobile revenue market share grew to 33.6 percent for the year, up from 30.4 percent last year. This growth enabled the company to further increase its profitability with EBITDA margin improving six percentage points over the year to reach 25 percent. Consequently, we have achieved positive Distributable Profit of QR157m, and as such, the board recommends a dividend payment to its shareholders of QR0.17 per share.”
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margin improved 6ppts to 25 percent with EBITDA for the full financial year of QR496m, a remarkable 75 percent improvement over the last year.
The net loss of the company improved by 39 percent to a loss of QR246m, while the return per share is minus QR0.29 (29 dirhams) compared with minus QR0.47 (47 dirhams) of the same period last year.
Steve Walters, CFO of Vodafone Qatar, stressed that the company is investing heavily to enhance its services across the country. “During last year we invested about QR350m to improve our services, and in the current year we expecting increase the amount by 50 percent,” said Walters.
The company said that it is committed to playing a key role in Qatar’s society and to bring the world’s most advanced technologies to help realize the Qatar National Vision 2030.