According to Vodafone, which ended Qtel’s domestic monopoly in 2009, a new offering of post-paid services this summer helped woo subscribers from its competitor.
By the end of September, the company recorded a customer base of 936,300 people, a 7 percent jump from the previous quarter. That’s more than half of Qatar’s population of 1.8 million.
Which is not to say that subscribers do not also use Qtel. Until the much-delayed introduction of number portability, which makes it possible to switch providers without losing their mobile numbers, many residents continue to use two mobile phones.
Number portability was supposed to be offered in Qatar by the end of last year, but was then pushed back to this summer. Telecom providers are now saying they hope the service will be ready by the end of this year.
Vodafone’s second-quarter revenue rose to $94.9 million from $82.3 million a year ago, but it still saw a loss of $33.4 million (compared to $31.6 million previously), in part due to rising expenses as it prepares to launch fixed line services.
Despite the losses, the Vodafone Group has extended a contract to manage its Qatar affiliate until 2018, Reuters reports.
The contract was due to expire next year.
Under the new terms, the parent company will take a smaller percentage (3.5 percent instead of 5 percent) of Vodafone-Qatar’s revenues “to reflect the increased scale of the business and the transition to a fixed and mobile operation,” the companies said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
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Credit: Photo courtesy of Vodafone’s Facebook page