As Mobily’s first-quarter results show, the Saudi telecoms group is on a steady growth path in terms of sales and profits. The company reported an 11 per cent year-on-year increase in net profit for the first three months to SR1.34bn driven by growth in data revenues and expansion in the business sector.

Revenues rose by 12 per cent, from the growth in sales of smartphones and data revenues, which accounted for 30 per cent of turnover during the period, compared with 23 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.

When Mobily launched in 2005, it had the advantage of being the second mobile phone company in the kingdom, breaking the monopoly of STC. But the firm now faces competition from new operators, such as Kuwait’s Zain Group, which launched operations in the kingdom in 2008. Although Saudi Arabia’s young demographic will prove a key growth driver in the telecoms sector as a whole, Mobily will face increasing competition.

Having invested in developing the largest 3G and 4G networks in the Mena region, the company now needs to focus on growth in its business and data segments. Mobily’s recent deal with the US’ Virtustream to provide cloud computing services to the business sector should also help.