In Brief:Sudan sale hits Etisalat profits 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based telecoms group Etisalat, which operates across 18 markets in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has reported revenues of AED13.2 billion (USD3.6 billion) for the three months to the end of September, up 3% year-on-year. Sales in its domestic market were up 4% at AED7.5 billion, while its Maroc Telecom unit saw turnover grow 2% to AED3.3 billion. Net profit after federal royalty was flat at AED1.9 billion, though the firm said profits would have risen 16% if adjusted for the impact of the sale of Sudanese operator Canar in August. Profits for the first nine months of 2016 were up 9% y-o-y at AED6.2 billion. The group claimed 162 million subscribers at the end of September, without providing a like-for-like figure for twelve months earlier.

***The Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC) is preparing legislation for the potential introduction of a new tax to fund the deployment of telecoms networks in rural areas of the country. TRC spokesperson said that the regulator plans to impose a 3% tax on the gross revenue of the country’s telecoms operators in the first half of next year. ‘So far we are preparing the sub-decree to be approved by the government on the process of using the funds – how the funds would be authorised and managed,’ he said, adding that the legislation will not likely to be ready until 2017, and will also require government approval. The proposed tax will finance a new Universal Service Obligation (USO) Fund, to be managed by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications Cambodia (MPTC), and will also be spent on research and development.

***Russia’s Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) has reintroduced a form of national roaming charge for its subscribers on certain tariffs who use the MTS network outside of their home region (oblast), reports Tdaily. From 25 October MTS customers eligible for the charge must pay RUB15 (USD0.24) per day for using their mobile phone in other oblasts, a strategy which Tdaily refers to as reverting ‘back to the 1990s’. For subscribers intending to ‘roam nationally’ for seven days or more in a given month, MTS is offering the option of a monthly RUB100 flat fee.

***Telefonica announced it is reducing dividends for 2016 and 2017, as it seeks ways of paying down debt in the wake of its unsuccessful O2 UK sale and scrapped Telxius IPO. The Spanish incumbent said that it now plans to reduce its hefty net debt based on positive organic cash flow generation. Consequently, Telefonica shareholders will receive €0.55 per share in 2016, down from €0.75 per share, and €0.40 per share next year. Telefonica's net debt stood at €49.99 billion at the end of September, down from €52.57 billion in the prior quarter.

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