Qatari operator says EBITDA dropped 5% in the first six months of 2020, in part because of actions introduced to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Anne Morris, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

July 29, 2020

3 Min Read
Ooredoo counts negative impact of COVID-19 in H1 results

Qatar-based Ooredoo became the latest telecoms operator to publish a set of quarterly and half-yearly results that have been somewhat adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Figure 1: Viral spiral: Ooredoo joins the long list of companies impacted by COVID-19. (Source: Ooredoo) Viral spiral: Ooredoo joins the long list of companies impacted by COVID-19.
(Source: Ooredoo)

In the second quarter of 2020, Ooredoo saw group revenue fall 7% year-on-year to QAR6.8 billion (US$1.86 billion), while EBITDA dropped 6% to QAR2.97 billion ($816 million).

Net profit was higher, however, rising 3% to QAR432 million ($119 million).

In the first half of 2020, revenue declined by 3% year-on-year to QAR14.1 billion ($3.87 billion) due to the COVID-19 impact.

EBITDA fell by 5% to QAR6 billion ($1.65 billion), which Ooredoo said was brought about by movement restrictions to contain the spread of the virus, as well as challenging market conditions in Algeria, Kuwait, Iraq and Oman.

Net profit fell by 3% to QAR818 million ($225 million).

Diversity dividend
Like many of its international peers, Ooredoo hailed the resilience of its business operations in the face of such challenging conditions.

Sheikh Faisal Bin Thani Al Thani, chairman of Ooredoo, said the group's "strong balance sheet and geographically diversified operations" enabled it to successfully navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

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"The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our world in an unprecedented manner and has impacted every aspect of our lives," the chairman said.

He added that Ooredoo's "early investments" in "digital transformation and technology" helped the telco respond to the new operating environment and "serve our customers in a safe and convenient way."

Ooredoo operates throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, with key businesses in Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Future 5G
The operator has already launched 5G in Qatar, Kuwait and Oman, and is trialing 5G services in Indonesia, Myanmar and Maldives. It said 200,000 subscribers have so far signed up for its 5G plans in Qatar.

In March this year, the operator awarded a 5G contract to Huawei covering five of its ten markets – Kuwait, Oman, Indonesia, Tunisia and Maldives.

However, Ooredoo is not putting all of its eggs in the Huawei basket: it recently completed 5G and 4G carrier aggregation tests over 200MHz of bandwidth with Ericsson, for example and has just launched a 5G cloud-native core network using Nokia equipment in Qatar.

The operator has also partnered with ZTE for 5G development in Myanmar.

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Anne Morris

Contributing Editor, Light Reading

Anne Morris is a freelance journalist, editor and translator. She has been working in the telecommunications sector since 1996, when she joined the London-based team of Communications Week International as copy editor. Over the years she held the editor position at Total Telecom Online and Total Tele-com Magazine, eventually leaving to go freelance in 2010. Now living in France, she writes for a number of titles and also provides research work for analyst companies.

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