The state-controlled telecoms operator generated revenues of SR6.9bn, up 18 per cent on the SR5.8bn figure in the same period of 2007.

Just 20 per cent of Saudi Telecom’s shares are available to private investors.

The government owns 70 per cent of the capital outright and a further 10 per cent through two state-backed investors: the General Organisation for Social Insurance and the Public Pension Agency.

Saudi Telecom will come under renewed competition in the mobile phone market in September this year when Zain Saudi Arabia, a subsidiary of the Kuwaiti telecoms operator of the same name, launches in the kingdom.

Saudi Telecom did not disclose customer numbers in its quarterly disclosure to the Saudi stock exchange (Tadawul). The company had 18.6 million customers at the end of March this year.