Saudi telecoms operator Etihad-Etisalat (Mobily) has signed an agreement to construct a SR400m ($107m) fibre-optic network in the country’s major cities. The decision comes after the company reported net profits of SR1.1bn for the second quarter of 2011, up 29 per cent since the same period last year.

Revenues grew from SR3.9bn to SR5bn, attributed to higher minute and data usage and increased sales of smart devices. Data revenue rose 47 per cent in the first six months of 2011, compared with the same period last year, accounting for about 20 per cent of the operator’s revenues.

Stable average return per use (ARPU) and growth in the broadband market contributed to the rise in revenues. The company has roughly 75 per cent share of Saudi Arabia’s mobile broadband subscribers. Mobily is due to launch its long-term evolution (LTE), a super fast mobile broadband service before the end of the year.

“Despite the continuation of the company’s capital expenditure, free cash flow will remain on the rise, which is a positive indication of Mobily’s ability to increase its dividends,” says Abdulaziz Saleh Alsaghyir, chairman of Mobily.

The board of directors are planning to meet on 21 July to determine the dividend payout for the first half of 2011.