Oman’s No.2 telecom operator Nawras reported a 21 per cent drop in first-quarter profit on Sunday, missing analysts’ estimates as text and domestic call income fell.
The firm posted a fifth straight quarterly profit decline as margins shrunk and depreciation rose while overall revenue increased three per cent.
Nawras, majority-owned by Ooredoo (Qatar Telecom), made a net profit of OMR7.7 million ($20 million) in the three months to March 31, down from OMR9.8 million in the year-earlier period.
Two analysts polled by Reuters forecast Nawras, which ended Oman Telecommunication Co’s (Omantel) monopoly in 2005, would make a quarterly profit of OMR10 million.
Margins at Gulf telecom operators are under sustained pressure as subscribers increasingly switch to Internet-based communications such as instant messaging and Voice over IP (VoIP) services.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), a key industry metric, fell 4.1 per cent to OMR23.2 million.
Nawras said increased depreciation arising from network modernisation had impacted its net profit.
First-quarter revenue was OMR48.2 million, Nawras said in a statement. This compares with OMR46.8 million a year ago.
Nawras attributed the revenue increase to rising income from fixed and mobile data and international calls, although income from text and domestic calls fell. The company did not provide a revenue breakdown.
The operator had 2.23 million fixed and mobile customers as of March 31, up 12.3 per cent from a year earlier.
In January, Nawras said its 2012 annual profit fell 22.2 per cent from a year earlier.