July 17, 2015 / 5:03 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Kazakh No.1 mobile operator KCell says H1 net income falls 23.6 pct

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ALMATY, July 17 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s largest mobile phone operator KCell said on Friday its net income decreased by a quarter in the first half of 2015, hit by rising competition and aggressive pricing policies on the oil-rich nation’s market.

KCell, controlled by Swedish-based TeliaSonera AB, said its net income dropped by 23.6 percent year-on-year in January-June to 24.6 billion tenge ($131.3 million).

The company said it would continue to focus on data services and revenue from handset sales “on the back of strong demand for smartphones”.

Its revenue fell by 6.6 percent on-year in January-June to 86 billion tenge .

KCell’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), excluding non-recurring items, decreased 13.5 percent in the first half to 46 billion tenge.

Kazakhstan, a vast steppe nation of 17.5 million, is Central Asia’s largest economy and the second-largest post-Soviet oil producer after Russia.

KCell said the number of its subscriptions decreased by 653,000 from the end of the second quarter of 2014 to 10.75 million.

$1 = 187.05 tenge Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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