Qtel’s Algerian subsidiary Nedjma had 5 million customers at the end of September, a 44 per cent increase on September 2007 when it had 3.5 million customers.

The company’s Iraqi business, Asiacell, came second with a 41 per cent increase in customer numbers to 5.6 million at the end of September. Asiacell has taken advantage of the improving security situation in Iraq by extending its network into the south and west of the country.

Qtel’s Qatari operation, which will soon face competition from Vodafone Qatar, increased its customer numbers by 31 per cent to 1.5 million.

In Tunisia, Tunisiana’s customer numbers gained 20 per cent to reach 4.2 million at the end of September.

Wataniya, the Kuwaiti operator that Qtel acquired in March last year, grew by 11.7 per cent to 1.7 million customers.

Nawras, its Omani operator, grew by 9.6 per cent to 1.4 million customers.