Net profits for the quarter were AED1.4bn ($380m), some 20 per cent less than the same period in 2007.

Etisalat’s fourth quarter revenues still climbed 18 per cent to AED7bn, revealing a deterioration in the company’s profits margins.

The operator does not breakdown revenues and net profits by country.

Earlier in January, Etisalat’s largest regional rival Saudi Telecom announced an unexpected 62 per cent drop in its fourth quarter net profits.

Analysts blamed Saudi Telecom’s falling profits on its operations in currencies that have depreciated against the US dollar.

Etisalat is also exposed to the depreciating Egyptian pound through its subsidiary Etisalat Misr.