Qatar Telecom (Qtel) has posted a 36.5% year-on-year drop in first-quarter net profit to QAR762 million (USD209 million), although if ignoring one-off gains on royalty adjustments last year, adjusted profit grew by 15.7% in Q1 2011, the group said in its statement. Consolidated revenues and EBITDA both rose by 17% y-o-y to QAR7.5 billion and QAR3.6 billion respectively, as results were boosted by the recent wresting of control of Tunisian cellco Tunisiana from Orascom Telecom. CAPEX investment across the Middle Eastern, African and Asian group was reduced by 20% in 1Q11 to QAR1.1 billion. The company’s total customer base – largely mobile users – grew by 13.9% to reach 75.6 million at the end of March 2011, up from 66.4 million twelve months earlier. ‘Thanks to our ability to move quickly when attractive opportunities arise, we are well positioned to capture the high growth offered by emerging economies,’ said the statement from Qtel, which is currently in the final round of bidding for Syria’s third mobile licence. Domestic EBITDA rose by 9% y-o-y to QAR778 million in January-March 2011, on revenues that climbed 5% to QAR1.4 billion, assisted by efficiency measures and a change in accounting practices which aligned the Qatari fixed, mobile and broadband operations with other group businesses, which include Kuwaiti-based sub-group Wataniya.