By John Lee.

Qatar-based Ooredoo has announced that revenue at its Asiacell subsidiary in Iraq increased 6 percent to QAR 4.5 billion, while and EBITDA increased 3 percent to QAR 2.0 billion, for the year ended 31th December 2017.

EBITDA margin was put at 44 percent.

In a statement, the company said:

A key opportunity in 2017 was restoring our network sites in the liberated areas and helping customers living there to reconnect to our services.

“As a result, Asiacell increased customer numbers by 8% to reach almost 13 million as network recovery advanced in the liberated areas in the north and west of the country.

(Source: Ooredoo)

By John Lee.

Ooredoo Group has reported that to reactivation of its sites in Mosul has contributed to an 11% increase in Asiacell‘s customer base (12.5 million customers) in the first nine months of 2017.

Revenue increased 6% to QAR 3.3 billion, “demonstrating Asiacell’s leadership in the market despite the difficult political and economic situation“, the company said in a statement.

EBITDA also increased 2% for the period, reaching QAR 1.5 billion, positively impacted by the increased revenue and good control of operating expenses. Good operational efficiency and cost control helped to maintain the EBITDA margin at 45%.

(Source: Ooredoo Group)

By John Lee.

Asiacell Iraq has announced 4 percent growth in revenues from QAR 2.1 billion ($570 million) in H1 2016 to almost QAR 2.2 billion ($600 million) in H1 2017.

The customer base increased 13 percent to reach more than 12 million customers in H1 2017.

EBITDA decreased by 3 percent and stood at QAR 972 million due to network investments to accommodate high data demand as well as reconnection cost in the liberated areas.

According to a statement from the company’s Qatar-based owner Ooredoo, growth was stimulated by improvements in the political situation. “With further areas in Mosul being liberated during the first half of the year, network reconnection helped to drive the increase in customer numbers,” it said.

(Source: Ooredoo)

In its Q1 results, Ooredoo reports that its Iraqi division Asiacell maintained profitability and data market leadership in what it described as a “challenging economic and political environment”.

Customer numbers increased significantly by 13% to reach 12 million customers following network reconnection in liberated areas of the country.

Asiacell maintained stable revenues of QAR 1.1 billion in Q1 2017, representing a slight decrease of 1% compared to Q1 2016.

EBITDA was QAR 479 million, representing a 2% decrease from Q1 2016, while EBITDA margin remained at a healthy level of 45% due to ongoing cost optimization efforts.

(Source: Ooredoo)

Today, Wikimedia community members in Iraq, the Wikimedia Foundation, and Asiacell, one of Iraq’s largest mobile operators, announced a new partnership to provide access to Wikipedia free of mobile data charges to Asiacell’s nearly 12 million subscribers in Iraq. The partnership was announced today at a press event hosted by Ooredoo during Mobile World Congress 2017.

The partnership, developed in large part by Iraqi volunteer editor and Asiacell employee, Sarmad Saeed Yaseen, marks the first Wikipedia Zero program in Iraq. The program, overseen by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, addresses one of the greatest barriers to internet access globally: affordability.

In a recent phone survey in Iraq led by the Wikimedia Foundation, roughly 80% of surveyed participants reported that mobile data costs limited their use of the internet. About 33% of participants also reported rarely or never being able to find online content in their preferred language.

Through the Wikipedia Zero program, mobile data fees are waived for subscribers of participating mobile operators so that they may read and edit Wikipedia without using any of their mobile data.

Sarmad, who is part of a community of local volunteer Wikipedia editors in Iraq, started the partnership to extend access to knowledge in his home country of Iraq. Together, he and his wife, Ravan Jaafar Altaie, have been active editors (or Wikipedians) since 2008.

“I’ve always believed that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness, so I decided to volunteer in Wikipedia to provide knowledge for free to my people in their own language,” said Sarmad Saeed Yaseen.

“When I was first introduced to Wikipedia Zero, I felt right away that this could be the best thing ever to share free knowledge in my country and encourage the people of Iraq to contribute knowledge and share this with the world on Wikipedia.”

By John Lee.

Qatar-based Ooredoo has announced that its Iraqi unit Asiacell has maintained its No.1 revenue market share position, but its revenues have fallen 14 percent:

In its FY 2016 Earnings Statement the company said:

Despite economic and political challenges in Iraq, Asiacell maintained its revenue and data market leadership. Asiacell successfully reactivated service and rolled out its 3G network to stabilised areas of Iraq. Customer numbers increased by 11% to reach 12 million.

Impacted by the overall challenging business environment and the introduction of a sales tax in August 2015, Asiacell’s FY 2016 Revenue decreased 14% to QAR 4.2 billion, down from QAR 4.9 billion.  

“Due to cost optimisation initiatives EBITDA was less impacted, registering QAR 1.9 billion at 2016, down 10% over 2015.

Earlier this week, rival mobile telco Zain announced an 11-percent decline in revenues.

(Source: Ooredoo)

By John Lee.

In its results for the first nine months of the year, Qatar-based Ooredoo said this morning that business at its Iraqi subsidiary Asiacell is still affected by the political and economic situation in the country, a “dysfunctional banking system“, and VAT impact.

Despite these challenges, Asiacell maintained its revenue leadership in the market and according to the company is well positioned to capture growth as the situation on the ground improves. Customer number increased by 5% to 11.2 million on our leading 3G network.

For the 9M 2016 period, Asiacell’s Revenue declined by almost 15% to reach QAR 3.2 billion, down from QAR 3.7 billion in 9M 2015.  

Due to cost optimization initiatives EBITDA was less impacted, registering QAR 1.5 billion in 9M 2016, down 9% as compared to the same period last year. Net Profit for 9M 2016 stood at QAR 79 million, down from QAR 152 million in 9M 2015.

(Source: Ooredoo)

In its results for the first half of 2016, Qatar-based Ooredoo said that its Iraqi mobile phone business Asiacell continued to be impacted by the security situation, the challenging economic environment and a decrease of customer purchasing power in Iraq.

Revenue stood at QAR 2.1 billion [$577 million], down 15% compared with QAR 2.5 billion in H1 2015. EBITDA remained relatively stable at just over QAR 1 billion, a 3% decrease compared to H1 2015 and EBITDA margin improved to 48% from 42% in H1 2015 due to Asiacell’s successful cost reduction strategy.

Net Profit increased by more than 18% to QAR 74 million. Asiacell’s customer base remained relatively stable at 10.8 million, approximately in line with the previous year.

Asiacell continues to see an increase in data revenue following its launch of 3G services in 2015, in a market still largely driven by voice services.

During the period, Asiacell enhanced its sales channels to drive the penetration of data services and continues to make progress in recovering its network in liberated areas.

(Source: Ooredoo)

As part of its results statement for the twelve months to 31st December 2015, Qatar-based Ooredoo gave the following update for its Asiacell mobile telecom operation in Iraq:

“Asiacell was impacted by the security situation in Iraq and aggressive pricing competition in the first half of the year. Consequently, revenue was down 22% to QAR 4,884 million in 2015 from QAR 6,298 million in 2014.

“Its customer base was 10.8 million, down from 12.3 million in 2014. EBITDA decreased to QAR 2,136 million in 2015 from QAR 2,939 million in 2014. Net Profit stood at QAR 159 million in 2015 (QAR 1,031 million in 2014) due to lower EBITDA and higher depreciation and amortization expenses on the back of 3G investments.#

“Shutdowns across Asiacell’s network impacted active subscriber numbers and revenue. However, a number of areas were also liberated throughout the year with Asiacell beginning to see some return of revenue in areas such as Tikrit city.

“The aggressive pricing competition characterizing the first half of the year alleviated in the second half of the year and Asiacell successfully launched a series of regional pricing initiatives. In Q4 2015, Asiacell began to increase its customer base with a 2% improvement compared to Q3 2015.

“Asiacell obtained its 3G license in 2014 and started 3G services from 1 January 2015. As a result, the company achieved double-digit growth in data revenues in 2015 compared to 2014.”

(Source: Ooredoo)

(Picture: Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani, Group CEO, Ooredoo)

Ooredoo is expanding its mobile financial services (MFS) following the launch of AsiaHawala exclusively with Asiacell, part of Ooredoo Group, in December 2015.

AsiaHawala is the first-ever mobile money service provider to launch in Iraq, licenced by the Central Bank of Iraq. The service enables Asiacell customers to make a number of Mobile Money transactions on a daily basis, including money transfer, bill payments and airtime top-up.

AsiaHawala is currently available at 1,600 locations throughout all governates of Iraq.

With the launch of AsiaHawala, Ooredoo now offers mobile financial services in four markets – Qatar, Indonesia, Tunisia and Iraq – delivering daily services to nearly five million customers.

H.E. Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani (pictured), Group CEO, Ooredoo, said:

“Smart financial services have the potential to change people’s lives, by offering access for the under-banked and providing customers with greater control over their money.

“Ooredoo is deploying a full range of innovative solutions to extend the range of mobile financial services across our footprint, and we’re very proud that Asiacell has launched the first mobile money service licenced by the Central Bank of Iraq.”

(Source: Ooredoo)