Displaying items by tag: Zain Saudi Arabia

Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia are deploying Nokia's FastMile technology to provide a superior customer experience to Zain's customers. The deployment, the first for Nokia FastMile in the Middle East and Africa region, follows a successful trial of the technology which recorded speeds of 20 Mbps - significant considering the current demands on 4G networks - and provided seamless 4G macro network coverage to reach users located in a challenging environment.

Zain is deploying the technology in the western and southern region of the country and also in the cities of Jeddah and Makkah. Interestingly, the FastMile solution will not only be deployed in the typical rural environments, but more in suburban areas, where no fiber or copper network is available, using the 1800 MHz band.

"We are enthusiastic about the success of the Nokia FastMile trial and the subsequent deployment of the technology, which will help us address the problem of poor in-house coverage and provide a much-improved user experience,” said Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer, Zain Saudi Arabia. “We are committed to providing the best-in-class quality of experience to our customers, and this project is a key step in that direction."

Service providers usually struggle with in-house coverage in a 4G network. Nokia FastMile allows them to improve in-house coverage and provide ultra-fast mobile broadband speeds to end-users by cost effectively re-using an existing macro network infrastructure. In this case, the increase in throughput will enable Zain to build additional revenue streams by launching new and innovative services, as well as help attract new subscribers.

"This deployment starts a new chapter in our longstanding relationship with Zain. We look forward to working with them to deliver a better broadband experience,” said Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia customer team at Nokia. “FastMile provides operators with an innovative way to re-use existing networks to meet growing broadband requirements. This deployment reinforces Zain's technology leadership, allowing it to use the latest technology solutions to meet the requirements of their customers."

Published in Telecom Operators

Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia have successfully completed the Middle East's first trial of LTE-Unlicensed, combining unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz frequency band with 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver a downlink speed of 223 megabits per second.

Following the trial, the Nokia technology will be deployed in hotspots, for example, in malls and cafes in Jeddah and around the Holy Mosque in Makkah. The project to develop the use of LTE-U in the Kingdom marks an important step for Zain to offer a superior subscriber experience using unlicensed spectrum.

“There has been exponential growth in the demand for high-speed mobile broadband services,” said Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer, Zain Saudi Arabia. “This trial with the support of our longstanding and trusted partner, Nokia, is an important step in our commitment to adopt the latest technological solutions to provide innovative and best possible services to our subscribers. It will also give us a crucial competitive edge.”

Service providers like Zain are looking to technology innovation to serve the ever-increasing data needs of their customers. LTE-U is one such approach, combining traditional LTE with LTE in unlicensed 5 GHz spectrum to enable service providers deliver exceptional service quality without significantly increasing their spectrum expenses.

Small cells are integral to successfully utilizing unlicensed LTE, and Nokia's Flexi Zone multiband small cell technology will support Zain in significantly increasing downlink data rates for mobile devices while also enhancing mobility, security, and the reliability of 4G/LTE connections.

“The trial underlines Nokia's technological excellence and innovation, as well as its commitment to ensuring service providers can provide the best experience to their customers,” said Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia customer team at Nokia. “This deployment will enable Zain to enhance the in-building quality of its service without increasing expenditure.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia have taken a significant step towards the creation of an IoT ecosystem in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the successful trial of NB-IoT (Narrowband Internet of Things) technology at a live site in Mina area of Makkah Province.

"This Saudi-first IoT trial in a live network again shows our strong commitment to bring new services to make people's lives more comfortable and productive,” said Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer, Zain Saudi Arabia. “It has been a fruitful, decade-long journey with our longtime partner Nokia in transforming telecom services in Saudi Arabia, and now this successful joint trial accelerates our initiatives in building smart cities across the Kingdom including Riyadh and Jeddah."

In the trial - which used smart metering as a potential use case - NB-IoT was applied to communicate temperature, humidity and air pressure from a remote location via a Nokia LTE base station at 900 MHz, demonstrating the role NB-IoT could play in applications such as smart metering for electricity departments, smart parking and smart waste management. The trial follows the MoU signed by Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia to collaborate on 5G and IoT development.

"This trial is the first step in utilizing Zain's country-wide LTE network assets to create a cost-efficient IoT ecosystem and introduce new services,” said Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia customer team at Nokia. “NB-IoT will help connect numerous devices, opening revenue opportunities in many verticals including transport, manufacturing, healthcare, energy, agriculture and home appliances."

 NB-IoT is a 3GPP Release 13 radio access technology designed to enable connectivity to IoT devices. The technology works in almost any environment, with its strong coverage capability connecting devices in hard-to-reach locations and its use of existing mobile networks allowing for the transfer of small data packets securely and reliably. In addition, with NB-IoT's very low power consumption, device battery life can last about 10 years.

In the NB-IoT trial, data was transferred using Nokia's LTE radio platform Flexi Multiradio 10 Base Station and Nokia's professional services expertise, including system integration, network implementation, and care services.

Zain KSA and Nokia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in April 2016 to collaborate on a major initiative that will transform Jeddah into a model for smart cities in the country and worldwide by 2018.

Published in Telecom Operators

Saudi Arabia’s Hajj becomes safer and smarter

Written on Sunday, 10 September 2017 11:37

Saudi Arabia receives around 1.75 million pilgrims from around the world for the annual Islamic Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca. Making necessary arrangements each year for the growing number of pilgrims poses a logistic challenge for the government, as well as telecom providers striving to cater to the dense crowds. The solution, according to reports, has been the implementation of smart connectivity.

Hajj pilgrim numbers have steadily increased in recent years which have led to numerous accidents and deaths due to overcrowding. In 2015, a stampede resulted in 769 deaths and injuries to 934 others, according to Saudi authorities. The Associated Press totaled at least 1,470 fatalities from official reports from other countries, making it the most deadly Hajj incident to date.

But the Hajj is a major revenue driver for Saudi Arabia, raking in around $8.5 billion in 2014. It’s the kingdom’s highest source of revenue after oil and gas, and the country is expected to depend more on the event as oil and gas sales decline. Saudi Vision 2030 is Saudi Arabia’s plan to reduce its dependence on oil by diversifying its economy and developing service sectors.

Introducing more connectivity and smart solutions, it seems, has made the Hajj pilgrimage a lot safer the past two years in Saudi Arabia, and a much more seamless experience for those involved. In 2016, for example, Saudi authorities issued electronic bracelets to pilgrims containing personal and medical information to assist authorities caring for and identifying people, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The water-resistant bracelets, developed by British security firm G4S, are connected to GPS and contain crucial information such as passport numbers and addresses, and also useful information to worshippers, such as timings of prayers, and a multi-lingual help desk to guide non-Arabic speakers around the event. The high-tech measure, G4S said, would help Saudi authorities provide care “and identify people.”

Wearable technology company Daira Tech also pledged its services to make Hajj and Umrah “safer and simpler” by developing its own connected bracelet called ‘Hajj Guider’, which provides tracking, voice communications and an emergency/panic button. The company’s smartphone app allows users to navigate offline, setup groups, track friends and family, and create custom geo fences.

Since the 1950s, Saudi Arabia has spent over $100 billion to increase pilgrimage facilities, according to the Encyclopedia of Islam. The government has addressed and improved major issues such as housing transportation, sanitation and healthcare, with the result that pilgrims now enjoy modern facilities and perform rites at ease.  

Saudi authorities reportedly installed more than 800 surveillance cameras at the Grand Mosque in Mecca linked to control rooms staffed by Special Forces monitoring pilgrim movements during Hajj rituals to ensure maximum safety and security.

Live crowd analytics software has also been implemented by authorities, which is not only able to spot incidents happening in crowds, but can also predict where overcrowding is likely to happen. Authorities can analyze live data that feeds into an operations room. The software, developed by London-based CrowdVision, provides real-time feedback on crowd numbers, densities, and so on.

“Crowds can be dangerous places. Whether triggered by factions within the crowd, by natural disasters or misguided crowd managers, there is a long history of crushes, stampedes and failed evacuations," said CrowdVision co-founder Fiona Strens. "[The software] spots patterns of crowd behavior that indicate potential danger such as high densities, pressure, turbulence, stop-and-go waves and other anomalies.”

Improved telecom services

Busy public events like Hajj create challenges not only for government, but also for telecom operators, as many people attempt to access mobile networks at the same time. Saudi Arabia’s telecom providers, in response to the growing number of Hajj pilgrims, have stepped up their game for the event by providing premium connectivity for all.

Saudi Telecom Company (STC), the kingdom’s largest telecom provider, increased Wi-Fi coverage in Mecca and Holy sites this year to prepare for the Hajj pilgrimage. The increased coverage extends to tunnels, bridges, and a number of public utilities in Mina.

STC increased Wi-Fi by 206 percent compared to last year, it said. The increase enabled a high speed of data to flow to pilgrims and workforces. The company said it dedicated all of its technical and human capabilities “to serve pilgrims coming to the country.” STC even announced a special offer for the first time with "SAWA Ziyara" SIM cards, that were specialized for this year’s Hajj season.

Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecom provider, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily), also made exceptional connectivity preparations to cater for the needs of Hajj pilgrims this year. The company said it increased data capacity by 50 percent through 4G in Holy areas to improve data services.  

Mobily also provided over 1,300 Wi-Fi access points with a capacity of 2,080 MB per second in the Holy areas of Mina, Arafat, and Muzdalifah, it said. Additionally, the telecom provider set up more than 1,000 fixed and mobile communication towers in Mecca and other Holy places.

The company, partly owned by UAE’s Etisalat Group, recently signed an agreement to develop its mobile network in different regions around the Kingdom with Nokia, Huawei and Ericsson. The agreement comes in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and its objectives that focus on developing Saudi Arabia’s telecom and IT sector, said Eng. Ahmed Aboudoma, CEO of Mobily.   

Mobily’s Chief Technology Officer and Head of Hajj Committee, Eng. Maziad Alharbi, said the company feels “honored to be one of the national companies working in serving pilgrims every year.”

Efforts to increase connectivity for Hajj have also been undertaken by Zain Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Zain Group, which announced in May this year that it had deployed Nokia’s Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform for the delivery of smart applications to subscribers heading to Mecca. The new solution enabled Zain subscribers to navigate crowded areas safely.

Zain Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Al Deghaither, Chief Technology Officer, said the company had invested in modernizing its network in the Hajj area. “The deployment of the Nokia MEC platform and two smart Hajj applications on this network is yet another milestone in our evolution toward building smart cities in the kingdom,” he said.

Following the successful trial during the 2016 Hajj, Nokia and Zain deployed the Nokia Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform together with Edge Video Orchestration over the network using both macro and small cell base stations to enhance the experience for Zain's subscribers.

The Nokia MEC platform allows applications to be hosted closer to the edge of the network, therefore closer to subscribers, to efficiently use network resources and open up new opportunities for the delivery of tailored services in high-traffic locations. By combining MEC with Edge Video Orchestration, video feeds can be efficiently broadcast to multiple subscribers' devices simultaneously with millisecond latency.

During Hajj, subscribers could download and use two site-specific applications over the MEC-enabled network, including ‘Zain People Finder’ which helps to easily navigate crowds and locate people; and the ‘Live Hajj’ app which allows users to view video streams from the Al Rahmah Mountain, to identify the best time of day to perform the 'flinging of the pebbles' ritual.

“We are pleased to work with Zain to provide the benefits of using MEC to deliver a differentiated experience at such an important event,” said Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia Customer Team at Nokia.

Nokia also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with STC this year to collaborate on the development of 5G and IoT use cases in Saudi Arabia. Under the terms of the MoU, Nokia and STC will carry out trials of technologies such as 4.5G Pro and 4.9G, key steps on the path to 5G to build the capacity and throughput speeds needed for new applications.

The collaboration will play an important role in STC’s digitalization transformation and its support of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision, which includes a strategic and comprehensive plan to develop the Hajj sector so as to allow the largest number of Muslims possible to attend.  

Published in Featured

Kuwait’s Zain Group reported a 5 percent decrease in revenues for the six months ended June 30 compared to the same period last year due to massive currency devaluation in Sudan, it said. The company ended the period serving 45.2 million customers across the Middle East and Africa.

In Q2 2017, Zain Group recorded consolidated revenues of KD 261 million (US$ 860 million), down 5 percent compared to the same period in the previous year. EBITDA for the quarter reached KD 104 million (US$ 344 million), down 21 percent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) in KD terms, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 40 percent. Net income for the quarter amounted to KD 44 million (US$ 145 million), down 2 percent Y-o-Y in KD terms reflecting earnings per share of 11 Fils (US$ 0.04).

Foreign currency translation impact, predominantly due to the 61 percent currency devaluation in Sudan, cost the company US$ 157 million in revenue, US$ 62 million in EBITDA and US$ 25 million in net income. Excluding the currency translation impact, Y-o-Y revenues and net income would have grown by 12 percent and 15 percent respectively for the period, it said.

"The company’s performance in the first half has been satisfactory given the various operational and forex challenges we face across our footprint,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors of Zain Group, Mr. Mohannad Al-Kharafi.

Mr. Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi, Zain Vice-Chairman and Group CEO, said, “It is unfortunate that one main factor outside of our control, namely the Sudan currency devaluation issue, has impacted overall performance considering the sound operational progress and transformation we have undertaken across all our markets.”

He added, “At the same time, the various operational management teams are focused on dealing with such costly and unavoidable socio-economic challenges across several key markets and are laying the foundations to take full advantage of improving conditions, once they occur.”

Maintaining its market leadership, Zain Kuwait saw its customer base serve 2.6 million customers. The first half of the year was characterized by intense price competition coupled with additional operational costs in network expansion and upgrades, which impacted the operation’s financial performance for the period.

Nevertheless, Zain Kuwait remains the Group’s most profitable operation with revenues reaching KD 167 million (US$ 549 million), EBITDA amounting to KD 66 million (US$ 215 million) and net income came in at KD 39 million (US$ 128 million).

Zain Kuwait was awarded and is currently implementing a smart meter project, in one of the sector’s largest ICT projects for the country’s Ministry of Electricity and Water. This Smart Meter project is a key step of the company's strategic plans to deploy smart city solutions in Kuwait and beyond.

In Iraq, despite the socio-economic circumstances coupled with the continuation of intense price competition, the operator achieved US$ 523 million revenues due to growth in data usage and numerous customer acquisition initiatives in the northern regions of the country. Zain Iraq’s efficiency drive saw EBITDA reach US$ 179 million, reflecting a 34 percent EBITDA margin. Net income amounted to US$ 11 million for the period. Zain Iraq leads the market serving 12.9 million customers.

Zain Saudi Arabia recorded its first-ever half yearly net profit of US$ 14 million, compared to net losses of US$ 154 million in the same period last year. The turnaround and cost optimization program in place at the operation, combined with investment in network upgrades and the introduction of appealing data monetization initiatives, bolstered all key financial indicators for the period. Revenues for the period were up by 9 percent, reaching US$ 1.04 billion.

However, the introduction of the biometric identification requirement during the year and the impact of seasonality saw the Zain Saudi Arabia’s total customer base shrink by 15 percent, to stand at 9 million customers at the end of June 2017. But the operator witnessed a 42 percent rise in data revenues (excluding SMS and VAS) Y-o-Y, representing 50 percent of total revenues.  

"The first six-months of 2017 produced some defining positive developments such as the progress being achieved through the turnaround program in Saudi Arabia and robust growth in our data monetization, Enterprise (B2B), and smart city initiatives in several key markets,” said Mr. Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi.

Zain Jordan grew its customer base by 3 percent Y-o-Y, serving 4.2 million customers at the end of June, and maintaining its market leading position despite intense price competition. Y-o-Y revenues increased 2 percent to reach US$ 241 million, with EBITDA up 1 percent to reach US$ 116 million, reflecting an impressive 48 percent EBITDA margin.

However, net income decreased 5 percent to US$ 48 million for the six-month period. With the continual expansion of 4G services across the country, data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) represented 37 percent of total revenues.

Zain Bahrain reported net income of US$ 4 million, reflecting a large 21 percent decrease. The operator generated revenues of US$ 100 million for the first six months of 2017, up 17 percent Y-o-Y. EBITDA for the period amounted to US$ 30 million, down 8 percent, reflecting an EBITDA margin of 30 percent. Data revenues (excluding SMS & VAS) increased 36 percent Y-o-Y, representing 43 percent of overall revenues.

Published in Finance

Zain Saudi Arabia and Nokia successfully trial advanced 4.5G

Written on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 08:35

Nokia and Zain Saudi Arabia announced the successful trial of advanced 4.5G features including uplink carrier aggregation, 4X4 MIMO, downlink 256 QAM as well as uplink 64 QAM, achieving higher throughput.

The trial, which took place in Jeddah, will help Zain Saudi Arabia to improve the mobile broadband experience for its subscribers, and evolve toward the next generation technologies of 4.5G Pro, 4.9G and eventually 5G.

"With the exponential growth in the demand for ultra-high-speed mobile broadband services in the Saudi market, we continue to invest in our network and adopt the latest technologies available on the market,” said Eng. Sultan Abdulaziz AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer, Zain Saudi Arabia.

“With this successful trial with our partner Nokia, we are confident that our network will evolve smoothly toward 4.5G Pro, 4.9G and 5G. This joint trial reiterates our commitment to constantly upgrade our networks in order to play our role in the digital transformation of the Saudi economy, and provide world-class customer experience."

Advanced 4.5G features such as multi-band carrier aggregation, higher order modulation and higher MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) allow operators to increase network capacity and speed with existing radio network resources and available spectrum bands. Combining the various advanced features of 4.5G is a cost-efficient means to evolve networks on the path toward 4.5G Pro, 4.9G, and 5G.

"Due to the rapidly growing use of data-hungry applications by smartphone users in Saudi Arabia, future networks will require a very high network capacity and throughput to deliver gigabytes of data,” said Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia Customer Team at Nokia. “With our future-proof technologies, we are committed to helping leading operators like Zain Saudi Arabia evolve their network to address this with their existing network resources with simple software upgrades."

Published in Telecom Operators

After two years of uncertainty for Saudi telecom operators Mobily (Etihad Etisalat) and Zain KSA, an arbitration judgment panel in Saudi Arabia finally ended the feud on November 13, in Zain’s favor. Mobily is Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecom operator. In December 2014, Mobily sought arbitration to obtain 2.2 billion riyals ($586.28 million) it says was owned to it by its rival Zain KSA. The dispute came about between the companies over a 2008 contract under which Mobily would provide services such as domestic roaming and site sharing to Zain KSA, which began commercial operations that year. The feud has now come to an end with Zain KSA’s CEO claiming the case has had “no impact on Zain’s net earnings... it’s time to put [this] legacy issue behind us.”

The panel judgment rejected 90% of Mobily’s SAR2.2 billion claim. Mobily was allocated only SAR 219 million of its claim. “I trust that this judgment brings to an end this legacy issue that has overshadowed both companies, and indeed the entire telecommunications sector in the Kingdom,” said Hassan Kabbani, CEO of Zain Saudi Arabia, after the judgment panel announced their decision in relation to the disputed SAR 2.2 billion claim by Mobily from Zain KSA arising from the services agreement signed between the two parties on May 6, 2008.

“Throughout the arbitration proceedings we have acknowledged that Zain owed Mobily a modest amount. As Zain maintained adequate financial provision to cover this amount, I can confirm that the judgment amount of SAR 219 million will have no additional impact on the Company’s net earnings.”

This statement made by the CEO was in line with a previous statement made by the company in 2014, which read, “If it is determined that jurisdiction over the dispute is vested in arbitration, or if resort is made to the courts, Zain, according to what is known now, does not expect an unusual impact on its financial statements.”

In 2014, Mobily claimed that Zain Saudi Arabia owed it 2.2 billion riyals as of November 30, 2013. In a statement then, the company said it could not reach an “amicable settlement with Zain Saudi.” The statement added, “Accordingly, and for the purpose to protect Mobily rights, Mobily decided to revert back to arbitration as per the Arbitration Rules and Regulations and in accordance with the said Service Agreement.”

In response to this, Zain Saudi Arabia, which is an affiliate of Kuwait-based Zain Group, rejected Mobily’s claim in a statement to Riyadh’s bourse, insisting that it only owed around 13 million riyals. In 2014, Zain’s CEO Hassan Kabbani told Reuters, “We have been asking Mobily to provide documentation that could justify this claim and so far they have failed to do so – these claims are not valid.”

In a statement released on December 2, 2014, Zain Saudi Arabia said it is “not clear to Zain the basis for Mobily’s arbitrary demands, even though Zain has been requesting Mobily for a long time to explain its demands. Zain has used Mobily’s network pursuant to the Agreement, and it has always thoroughly reviewed the demands sent by Mobily that are supported by documentation. Zain has timely settled the amounts it owes, except for a currently outstanding amount of SAR 13,000,000 approximately, according to its unaudited records.”

Kabbani acknowledged that Zain KSA had used Mobily’s national roaming services until August 2013 before Zain KSA switched to Saudi Arabia’s leading operator STC (Saudi Telecom Company). Zain KSA said Mobily’s claims contradicted the decisions of the telecom regulator in the country. “It appears to Zain that some of the amounts that Mobily is demanding contradict the regulatory resolutions by the Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC),” said Zain KSA.

Mobily claimed that it had received irregular payments from Zain KSA, and thus sought 58.7 million riyals in damages. The dispute eventually dragged out, and the arbitration panel was extended in December 2015 for 12 months, until a decision was eventually made in November 2016.

“I would like to thank our team of legal advisors, technical experts, accounting experts and of course the team at Zain for their support over the last two years,” said Kabbani in his statement. “Telecommunications by its nature is one of the most interconnected industries in the world.  As a sector, we all need to put this legacy matter behind us and focus on achieving the strategic objectives of Vision 2030 for the benefit of the Kingdom and all consumers.”

Zain Saudi Arabia highlighted the professionalism and transparency of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce’s new commercial arbitration guidelines, which “greatly contribute to maintaining the confidence and trust in the Kingdom’s business environment,” said Zain KSA. In the end, the panel judgment rejected 90% of Mobily’s SAR2.2 billion claim. Mobily was allocated only SAR 219 million of its claim.

Mobily and Zain KSA are following a similar path in Saudi Arabia – a country that is looking to diversify its economy. Both telcos are said to be looking to sell towers as network quality becomes similar across different operators.

In March this year, Kabbani said Zain KSA is considering several options for its thousands of telecommunications towers. He said all scenarios are possible, such as selling them for cash and leasing them back, or working with competitors to create one company to manage the towers. Mobily is also said to be considering a sale, which could fetch as much as $2 billion according to sources. It was reported in February by Saudi news website Maaal that “high-level negotiations” were happening to create a company to own the towers of all three major telecommunication providers in the Kingdom, including STC, Mobily and Zain KSA.

Despite the feud between Mobily and Zain KSA, Kabbani says Saudi Arabia’s telecommunications industry will be less effected than other industries by the country’s economic slowdown which has been brought on by dropping oil prices, because telcos in the Kingdom could greatly benefit from the government’s diversification pans.

Published in Featured

Following the excellent performance during 2015, Zain Saudi Arabia (Zain KSA) announced significant improvements in its financial results for the first quarter of 2016 ending March 31, 2016.

Revenues grew by 7% in Q1, 2016 reaching USD 471 million compared with USD 442 million in Q1, 2015, also representing a 6% increase in revenues compared with USD 446 million for the fourth quarter of 2015.

The company recorded a significant 28% increase in EBITDA to reach USD 119 million in Q1, 2016, up from SUSD 93 million during the same quarter of 2015, and a 10% increase from USD 108 million in Q4, 2015. EBITDA margin rose to 25% compared to 21% in Q1 2015, and 24% in Q4 2015.

The company also recorded a 24% increase in gross profit to reach USD 290 million for the first quarter of 2016, reflecting a gross margin of 62%, up from USD 233 million and 53% gross margin in Q1, 2015. Gross profit also increased by 2%, up from USD 284 million in Q4, 2015.

Zain KSA recorded an impressive 46% reduction in operating losses (EBIT), to reach 8.5 million for Q1, 2016, down from USD 16 million in Q1, 2015, whilst narrowing operating losses by 61% compared to USD 22 million in Q4, 2015.

Net losses for Q1, 2016 were narrowed by 3% to USD 67 million, down from USD 68.5 million during the same quarter last year, while also dropping by 14% from USD 78 million in Q4, 2015.

Commenting on these results, HH Prince Naif bin Sultan bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Kabeer, chairman of the Board of Directors of Zain KSA said: "Although we operate in a very competitive market, I am pleased to see the company maintaining steady financial improvements. The Company continues to report net losses mainly due to the high amortization charges associated with its license and the cost of financing its debt," His Highness explained.

Mr. Hassan Kabbani, chief executive officer of Zain KSA said: "During Q1 2016 we were able to maintain our positive results, both financially and operationally, following a record-breaking year. This indicates the continued success of our transformation plan, driven by our 'Winning through Caring’ strategy."

Mr. Kabbani concluded: "This is a great achievement, which all members of our winning team can rightly be proud of. We achieved these positive results thanks to the full support of Zain KSA shareholders, Zain Group, the Board of Directors, as well as the combined efforts of all of the Zain team."

Published in Finance