Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel) saw a 24% fall in net profit for the first nine months of the year, to QAR930 million (USD255.6 million) after it made a hefty royalty payment to the state. Revenues grew 24% to QAR2.14 billion, up from QAR1.73 billion in the first nine months of 2004, as the mobile customer base grew to 675,400 users, from 600,215 at the end of June. Q-Tel’s Oman mobile business, which launched in March 2005 under the Nawras brand, finished September with 174,000 users, up from 82,653 three months earlier.
The telco’s bottom line was hit by the payment to the government. This is the first year Q-Tel has had to pay royalties for exclusive access to the Qatari market. ‘Q-Tel is grateful to the State of Qatar for providing us with a royalty exemption for the previous six years. The exemption has helped us establish a highly profitable business that remains a premium investment for shareholders,’ Q-Tel Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al-Thani said in a statement.