The Iraqi division had 7.8 million customers at the end of March, after it successfully completed the integration of more than 3 million IraQna customers it acquired in December 2007.

Zain’s Bahraini subsidiary is close to catching up with its only rival Batelco after it managed to increase customer numbers to 529,000, a 114 per cent increase in one year.

The only setback for Zain was its continued loss of market share in Jordan. Customer numbers at its Jordanian subsidiary fell by 5 per cent to 1.8 million because of increased competition.

The Lebanese business had flat customer numbers as the country waits for the long-expected sale of the two state-owned operators.

In its home market of Kuwait, Zain saw an increase in customer numbers of 8 per cent to reach 1.6 million users.