Vodafone Qatar, which launched commercial mobile services at the start of July 2009, has reported an operating loss of QAR347.5 million (USD95.5 million) for the six months ended September 2009. EBITDA loss for April-September reached QAR156.2 million, compared with a loss of QAR37.5 million in the same period last year. The amortisation of the QAR7.7 billion mobile licence over 20 years began in May 2009. Revenue for the six-month period was QAR39.2 million, of which QAR22.2 million was earned in September. The UK-backed firm, which was listed in July, said in a statement it was on track to be EBITDA-positive in the year ending March 2011. It added that it had around 220,000 customers by end-October, up from 150,800 customers at end-September, and claimed a market share of around 7%.
In a related development, Vodafone Qatar also said yesterday it hopes to launch fixed line services in late 2010, as reported by arabianbusiness.com. ‘The consortium is currently working through the pre-grant requirements specified by [regulator] ictQATAR prior to being awarded the licence,’ the company said in an announcement to the Doha Stock Exchange website, which continued: ‘The management anticipate that this could be finished by the end of November 2009 to enable the first fixed services to be launched in late 2010.’ A consortium consisting of the Vodafone Group and the Qatar Foundation was announced as the winning applicant for Qatar’s second fixed line licence on September 2008, but to date the concession has not been formally awarded.