Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has earmarked capital expenditure of between QAR6.5 billion and QAR7.3 billion (USD1.8 billion to USD2.0 billion) this year as it aims to increase net profit by 9%-11%, EBITDA by 18%-20% and revenues by 20%-22%. It aims to meet customer demand by expanding mobile networks especially in Iraq, Indonesia, Algeria, Palestinian Territories and Oman. ‘We remain confident that our strategy of growth in high potential markets, combined with developing operations in more mature markets, will prove pivotal for our long-term success,’ said Qtel chairman Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani. Indonesia represented the second largest market by revenue in 2008 for Qtel, which served 57.5 million customers in 17 countries by the end of the year. Qtel’s net profit attributable to shareholders jumped 36% to QAR2.3 billion (USD633 million) in 2008, mainly driven by its relatively small but lucrative domestic market, which had 1.9 million total mobile, fixed line and broadband customers at end-December, and from its well-established Kuwaiti operations (via its subsidiary Wataniya). Sheikh Abdullah said the surge in 2008 net profitability validated the company’s growth strategy amidst pressures on the wider global economy. Consolidated group revenue increased by 93% year-on-year to QAR20.3 billion, and EBITDA rose 90% to QAR9.8 billion. Operations outside Qatar accounted for 73% of group turnover in the fourth quarter of 2008.