UAE telecom operator Emirates Telecommunications Group (e&), also known as Etisalat, reported a net profit of AED 2.3 billion ($626 million) for the first quarter of 2024.

The earnings after federal royalty were up 7% from a year earlier, supported by strong growth in revenue and subscriber numbers, the company stated in a disclosure on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) on Tuesday.

During the period, aggregate subscriber base grew by 5% to 173 million, while revenue increased by 9% to AED 14.2 billion, driven by expansion of domestic and international operations.

The growth in subscribers as of March 31, 2024 represents net additions of 8.8 million during the 12-month period, driven by subscriber acquisition in Egypt, Pakistan, UAE and Moov Africa operations.

Within the UAE, the company’s revenue increased by 5.7% to AED 8.2 billion. The mobile segment posted a 4.6% growth to AED 2.9 billion, driven by an increase in subscribers, new product offering and higher uptake of bundled offers, among others.

Overall, EBITDA went up by 3% in both reported and constant currency to AED 6.4 billion.

Total operating free cash flow for the quarter amounted to AED 4.7 billion, with a margin of 33%.

The positive results have been due to the “strategic” moves to diversify the company’s portfolio, according to the company’s CEO.

“This is testament of the strategic choices we’ve made in diversifying our portfolio, fortifying our brand and cementing partnerships,” said Hatem Dowidar, Group CEO of e&.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)