Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has posted a 29% fall in first quarter net profit to SAR1.772 billion (USD472.5 million), down from SAR2.49 billion in the year-earlier period. Operating profit in the three months ended 31 March 2010 fell 39% to SAR2.35 billion, which the firm attributed to a drop in international call prices, a rise in fees related to using external networks and an increase in expenses due to capital investments throughout the group. STC’s smaller stake in Malaysian telco Maxis also contributed to the drop, after a 30% stake in that company was listed on the local bourse. STC said in January it netted SAR684 million from the flotation. STC said its mobile subscriber base grew by 13% to 22 million at the end of March.