November 1, 2018 / 7:21 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-UAE telco du focuses on fixed line, post-paid as prepaid falls - CEO

(Releads on strategy, adds CEO comments, details)

DUBAI, Nov 1 (Reuters) - United Arab Emirates telecom company du is focusing on increasing fixed-line and post-paid mobile revenue to counter a fall in prepaid customers, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Mobile revenue was up 0.3 percent in the third quarter as the number of mobile subscribers fell 3.3 percent. Fixed-line revenue rose 7.8 percent as subscribers rose 5 percent.

Chief Executive Osman Sultan said the fall in prepaid subscribers was greater than post-paid but the overall 3.3 drop was largely due to a government policy to disconnect numbers not used for a prolonged period of time or that were not registered.

Du does not disclose a breakdown of post-paid and prepaid customers.

Sultan said on a conference call that du was working to grow post-paid revenue by simplifying post-paid mobile plans, offering more paid packages and improving customer experience.

Du, also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co (EITC), offers mobile services under its own “du” brand and also a Virgin Mobile brand largely focused on prepaid.

The company had 7.7 million mobile subscribers as of Sept. 30.

The company had 760,000 fixed-line subscribers as of Sept. 30, which Sultan said gave it 16 percent of the UAE’s fixed-line market. Du earlier announced a 7.4 percent decline in third-quarter profit after royalty to 441 million dirhams ($120 million).

Sultan said the quarterly drop was due to a reversal of a depreciation cost in 2017, which he declined to disclose.

The telecom company and its rival Etisalat have to pay the UAE government a royalty tax on revenue and profit. In the third quarter, du paid 531.1 million dirhams in royalties.

Etisalat last week reported a 4.2 percent drop in third-quarter net profit. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell Editing by Sunil Nair and Edmund Blair)

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