Qatar-based Ooredoo Group reported consolidated revenue of QAR14.118 billion (USD3.876 billion) for the first half of 2020, a 3% year-on-year drop due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. EBITDA declined by 5% y-o-y to QAR5.996 billion in January-June 2020 while net profit attributable to shareholders in the period slipped 3% to QAR818 million. Ooredoo said that a reduction in handset sales and roaming business as well as macroeconomic weakness in some markets was partially offset by robust growth in: Indonesia (Indosat Ooredoo, where revenues increased 6% to QAR3.4 billion, driven by a refreshed strategy focused on higher margin customers); Tunisia (revenues up 6% to QAR731 million, supported by a ‘value creation plan’); and Myanmar (8% revenue improvement on data services demand). EBITDA was impacted by movement restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19 in key markets as well as challenging market conditions in Algeria, Kuwait, Iraq and Oman. Quarterly group revenue and EBITDA for April-June 2020 decreased by 7% and 6% respectively y-o-y to QAR6.8 billion and QAR3.0 billion.
Ooredoo Qatar’s revenue was down 4% to QAR3.5 billion in the first six months of 2020 (H1 2019: QAR3.7 billion) with H1 EBITDA falling 9% to QAR1.9 billion from QAR2.1 billion. The firm highlighted the strength of its Qatari fixed/mobile network which was re-optimised in recent months to accommodate a significant increase in data traffic demand and extended network/telecom support to quarantine centres and hubs across the country. Total Qatari fixed/mobile customers increased by 1.3% y-o-y to around 3.4 million at 30 June 2020, and Ooredoo Qatar also reported that over 200,000 customers have now signed up for its Shahry 5G and Qatarna 5G mobile packages launched in December.
Ooredoo Qatar also announced today that its Nokia-powered cloud-native core network for commercial 5G services has gone live, completing a project announced in May 2019 and facilitating automation for improved network efficiency and streamlined network management as well as new use cases such as industrial IoT (IIoT). A press release from Nokia says that the cloud-native core is essential to meet the critical business objectives of 5G, including better bandwidth and latency, IoT requirements, and new services beyond traditional voice, broadband and messaging. The new cloud core network supports 5G Non-Standalone (NSA) architecture and provides a smooth transition to a 5G Standalone (SA) network architecture. Ooredoo Qatar COO Yousuf Abdulla Al Kubaisi stated that the new core will ‘help us in providing low-latency, high-speed and content-rich services to our subscribers.’