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 Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ooredoo announced recently that it has reached a milestone in its nationwide roll-out of Qatar's first and only 4G services, with the recent activation of its 500th LTE site in Qatar.

The 500th site that was completed and activated was required for a complete nationwide network, as the company surges ahead with its plan to make Qatar's fastest-ever mobile broadband accessible for everyone. The activation of the 500th site means that the 4G service range now extended to cover the whole country.

The rise of 4G has created a spike in data usage across Qatar, as people download films, educational material and mobile apps faster than before. It has also delivered an improvement to customers using 3G and even 2G networks, as the migration to 4G has freed up space on the legacy networks.

Ooredoo's 4G service is available for both postpaid and prepaid customers with a range of packages, starting from QR15 per week for Hala customers, and including Ooredoo's new Shahry Smart Packs which offer a bundle of minutes, SMS, mobile data and access to 4G Key for QR175 per month.

Ooredoo currently provides the only network in Qatar offering customers access to 4G services. It is seeing particularly strong demand from small businesses looking to use 4G as the backbone for their offices' mobile operations. Using 4G enables companies to teleconference in high-definition, adding sharpness and clarity to international meetings.

Source: Qatar Tribune.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 10:29:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 31, 2013

Algerian telecom regulator ARPT has awarded 3G licences to the three candidates, Algerie Telecom Mobile (Mobilis), Wataniya Telecom Algerie (Nedjma) and Orascom Telecom Algerie (Djezzy). The three existing operators met the technical and financial requirements of the licensing regulations, the ARPT said.

Vimpelcom, the controlling shareholder of Djezzy, said the licence will cost DZD 3 billion (USD 40 million) and be valid for 15 years. The ARPT will grant the final licences with the relevant coverage obligations after payment of the fees, satisfaction of the conditions in the tender documents and receipt of clearances and approvals from various government authorities. Djezzy, which has been the subject of government restrictions on its foreign currency transactions, received an exceptional approval from the Bank of Algeria to acquire foreign equipment for the 3G roll-out, Vimpelcom said.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, October 31, 2013 9:40:45 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A consortium of Middle East operators has unveiled plans for a new terrestrial network that would link several Gulf states to Turkey and Europe. UAE operator du, Vodafone Qatar, and Kuwaiti operators Zajil and Zain Group, announced their plans for the Middle East-Europe Terrestrial System (MEETS) in Dubai on 30 September. The first phase, scheduled to launch in Q1 2014, is a terrestrial link between the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait. It is comprised of a fibre pair running alongside the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority’s regional power grid. The second phase of MEETS would extend connectivity from Kuwait to Turkey via Iraq.

The new network will help meet rapidly growing demand for international capacity in the region. According to data from TeleGeography’s Global Bandwidth Research Service, the aggregate international bandwidth requirements of the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait grew at a compound annual rate of 69% between 2008 and 2012.

‘MEETS will be a welcome addition to the growing number of terrestrial routes in the Middle East,’ said TeleGeography analyst Paul Brodsky. ‘These routes not only offer geographic diversity but avoid the submarine cable bottleneck in Egypt.’

Several other overland routes between the Middle East and Europe already exist. The Europe-Persia Express Gateway (EPEG) was launched in January 2013, and links Germany to Oman via Russia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. In February, submarine cable operator Gulf Bridge International (GBI) introduced GBI-North, a terrestrial fibre network linking the company’s Iraqi landing station to Turkey. Also in early 2013, Turk Telekom International and Palestine Telecom launched a hybrid route dubbed Paltel. Their alternative to the Europe-Asia route via Egypt spliced together subsea capacity on the MedNautilus system with terrestrial capacity on Palestine Telecom’s network, extending to the Jordanian border. Two other systems, Jeddah Amman Damascus Istanbul (JADI) and the Regional Cable Network (RCN), have been built but remain inactive due to the instability in Syria.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, October 31, 2013 9:30:52 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 15, 2013

Saudi Arabia’s incumbent broadband service provider Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has expanded its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network to connect over 600,000 new households, the Saudi Gazette reports. According to a press release on the operator’s website, the fibre-optic network, which reached a total length of 6,000km in 2012, will also provide STC’s subscribers with download transmission speeds of up to 125Mbps.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, STC started the deployment of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology in August 2010 – a first for the Kingdom – offering internet speeds of up to 100Mbps in many parts of the country. FTTH products were introduced in February 2011 and were marketed under the ‘Verve’ brand. At launch the FTTH service was available in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, with plans to expand coverage to most of the Kingdom’s cities by end-2014.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 15, 2013 7:20:39 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Kuwait’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has announced the launch of mobile number portability (MNP) from 15 June 2013, Arab Times reported. Customers of local mobile companies — Zain, Wataniya and Viva — can transfer to a new network provider without changing their phone number after they fill an application and settle their bill with the current operator. The transaction is estimated to take no more than 24 hours. According to the MoC’s PR director Al-Husaini, the MNP project is a ‘qualitative leap’ in telecommunications, and will contribute to better competition and incentivise mobile companies to improve services and reduce prices.

Following the MoC announcement, Zain Kuwait and Viva released statements to inform interested parties that their representatives are ready to accept transfer requests. Commenting on the MOC’s initiative, Zain Kuwait CEO Omar Al Omar, stated: ‘The decision is a step forward in the evolution of the telecom sector in Kuwait. This new regulation will empower the customer with the freedom to choose the mobile service provider of his choice, while at the same time act as a stimulus for all operators to be more dynamic and focused to meet and exceed customer satisfaction.’

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:17:04 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Arabia's telecommunications regulator has awarded three new MVNO licences. Of five applicants, the winners were Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa, which will launch on STC's network, Lebara on Mobily's network and Axiom Telecom on Zain's network, the Saudi Gazette reports. Local companies FastNet and Safari were the losing bidders. Saudi Arabia will become the second of the six Gulf Cooperation Council members after Oman to allow MVNOs.

The CITC did not state when the MVNOs would launch services, only that the winners now had 90 days to provide the necessary documents to move to the next phase of obtaining their licences. The aim of the new licences is to lower prices, improve customer care, increase job opportunities and stimulate competition in the sector, the regulator said.

Source: Telecom Paper.

 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 7:15:36 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 25, 2013

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA) has released the latest update of the retail price benchmarking study of telecommunications services in Arab countries. The study was commissioned by the TRA on behalf of AREGNET (the Arab Regulators Group). It was undertaken by Teligen, an independent consulting firm specializing in tariff comparisons. The main insights of the study are:

  • Mobile tariffs: Mobile prices in Bahrain have fallen by up to 30% between 2011 and 2012, and by up to 41% since 2008 when TRA decided to allow a third mobile operator to enter Bahrain. Mobile prices in Bahrain have been deregulated since 2010. They compare well with GCC and Arab averages but mobile prices in Bahrain remain consistently above the OECD average.
  • Fixed broadband: The entry of Wimax-based operators following TRA’s award of new fixed-wireless licences in 2007 has significantly enhanced the competitiveness of fixed broadband services in Bahrain. Fixed broadband prices in Bahrain have fallen by up to 53% between 2011 and 2012, and by up to 71% since 2008. For the low speed and mid speed baskets, Bahrain is now one of the cheapest GCC and Arabcountries. The picture is somewhat different for the high speed basket (>15 Mb/s), where despite price reductions in 2012, fixed broadband in Bahrain remains relatively expensive compared to other GCC countries (particularly residential prices). The OECD average is significantly lower than the fixed broadband prices in Bahrain, the GCC averages and Arab averages, particularly for the high speed basket.
  • Mobile broadband: Mobile broadband pricesare set freely by each of the three mobile operators since 2010. They have also come down significantly as a result of an increasingly competitive market. Mobile broadband prices in Bahrain declined by up to 63% between 2011 and 2012, and Bahrain has amongst the lowest prices for mobile broadband in GCC and Arab countries. Bahrain also compared well with the OECD. TRA expects faster and new services from the auction of additional spectrum planned in April 2013.
  • Fixed voice tariffs: Bahrain is one of the cheapest Arab countries. Although Bahrain compares well with other Arab and OECD countries (low baskets) in terms of the cost of a basket of fixed voice services, calling revenues still represents a significant portion of the fixed line cost, suggesting that retail rates are not rebalanced. Fixed voice tariffs in Bahrain have been static in nominal terms for all users in the last five updates.
  • Leased line tariffs: As is the case in most of the GCC countries, the prices for leased lines in Bahrain have not changed in nominal terms since the first Arab Price Benchmarking Study in 2008. Leased line prices in Bahrain are similar to prices in the Arab region, although by OECD standards, leased lines tariffs in Bahrain remain high. The finding that prices have not changed over the last four years indicates that competitive pressures in the leased line market have been less intense than in other telecommunications markets within Bahrain. TRA has sought to address this during 2012 through the introduction of better retail prices for a new type of leased lines and through the introduction a new regulated wholesale local access service, which should enable other operators to compete more effectively in the supply of retail leased line services to end users.

Source: Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain (TRA).

Monday, March 25, 2013 2:12:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 20, 2012

Algerian operators will launch 3G and m-payment services in the first quarter of next year, postal and ICT minister Mouusa Benhamadi announced to the local press. He said that the 3G licensing process would begin at the start of the year and services would begin before the end of March. The minister explained that 4G licensing was rejected due to the elevated cost of handsets, greater investment by operators, the requirement for a specific frequency band and the need for more base stations, authorisations to build them and the availability of necessary locations. Algeria launched a tender for 3G licences in September 2011, but suspended the process and delayed it several times due to a legal dispute between the government and Orascom Telecom Algeria, which operates under the Djezzy brand. In his latest statement to the press Benhamadi recognised that Algeria was behind in some services, such as m-payment, adding that Algerie Telecom, Mobilis and the postal service would introduce an m-payment service by the end of January

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:35:19 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

DUBAI: Oman has granted a fixed-line telecommunications license for the greater Muscat area to a consortium of Awaser Oman Co. and Hong Kong's PCCW International, the regulator said yesterday, a decision that may squeeze earnings at Oman's existing operators.

The license is valid for the Governorate of Muscat — home to about a quarter of Oman's estimated 2.8 million people — and will enable the consortium to provide fixed-line data and voice services for 25 years. PCCW International is a subsidiary of PCCW Ltd.

The consortium will compete against Oman Telecommunications Co. (Omantel) and Nawras, a subsidiary of Qatar Telecom (Qtel).

As the former monopoly, Omantel has an extensive fixed-line network and this provided just over half of its revenue for the nine months to Sept. 30, according to Reuters calculations. Fixed-line accounted for 18.5 percent of Nawras's third-quarter revenue.

The Awaser-PCCW license was awarded as fixed-line services lag mobile, which had penetration of 180 percent — or 1.8 mobile subscriptions per person — at the end of June, according to Oman's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

Many people hold multiple mobile SIM cards and switch provider depending on which has the best offers for local and international services, with Omantel also hosting two mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). MVNOs lease network capacity and usually target a particular economic or ethnic group.

Fixed-line take-up has been sluggish in comparison — penetration was only 10.7 percent at the end of June, up 0.6 percentage point since mid-2011, with just over a quarter of households using the Internet on a fixed connection.

Yet fixed-line Internet services are lucrative, with a monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) of 32.071 rials ($83.30) in the second quarter, up 1.3 percent from the previous quarter. Mobile broadband penetration was 51 percent at the end of June.

Source: Arab News.

Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:06:05 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, November 26, 2012

Zain Kuwait has announced that it has launched 4G services under the brand name Wiyana Connect 4G LTE. In a press release the company stated that the country’s first nationwide Long Term Evolution (LTE) offering is available for all compatible mobile phones, tablets, routers, hotspots and dongles. CEO Omar Alomar said: ‘We are very proud to launch the new service. This service is available for the first time nationwide.’ According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, rival cellco Kuwait Telecom Company (Viva) launched LTE services in December 2011, however coverage of that network is believed to be restricted to central areas.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, November 26, 2012 12:27:36 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, November 08, 2012

The number of active users of the internet in the Arab region has increased by 23 percent in the last two years, which is 1.6 times higher than the world average of 13 percent growth, according to Hatem Samman, director of Ideation Centre at Booz and Company. The Arab Digital Generation (ADG) constitutes 4 percent of the globally digital active users generation, Gulf News reported. Up to 90 million Arabs aged 15 to 35 years use the internet. It is expected that by 2030, about 38 percent of the Arab population will be using the internet. Samman was referring to a survey conducted by the company of 3,127 respondents from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, UAE, Algeria and Egypt.

 Samman said that Arabs read more news on the internet compared with others, stressing that 260 million are globally digitally active. Samman said social media account memberships have increased by 20-30 percent in the Arab world in the last two years, adding that the UAE has the highest penetration of online purchasees which is 12 per cent compared with a world average of 20 per cent. In 2006-2011, the number of internet users increased to a great extent.

 

This is reflected by the high percentage of Youtube playbacks in the Arab world compared with the rest of the world. Eight-five percent of internet users in Saudi Arabia use YouTube, 83 percent in the UAE and 74 percent in Egypt. The overall figure for YouTube users in the Mena is 167 million.

Source: Telecom Paper.

Thursday, November 08, 2012 2:20:52 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 29, 2012

Saudi cellular and internet operator Mobily has announced that its Time Division Long Term Evolution (TD-LTE) 4G network has now been expanded to cover 31 cities. The 2.6GHz wireless broadband network, which is operated by Mobily subsidiary Bayanat Al-Oula, launched in September last year according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, and is eventually expected to cover up to 85% of the Saudi population.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 29, 2012 10:30:57 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, October 01, 2012

The Ministry of Communications in Kuwait has imposed a price ceiling on internet services in the country which will force operators to drop prices by up to 40%. Local news agency KUNA reports communications minister Salem Al-Utheina as saying: ‘ISPs price reduction process will take place first, later other services will witness similar reduction, which will be supervised by the ministry in the near future.’ The minister did not specify which services were under consideration for future price capping.

Source: Telegeography.

Monday, October 01, 2012 12:55:14 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The Qtel Group today celebrated the launch of 3G services by Tunisiana, the leading mobile operator in Tunisia, which is part of the company’s portfolio of leading brands.
 
With launch coverage extending to 48 percent of the population, Tunisiana will offer 3G services in the regions of Tunis, Sfax, Sousse, Djerba, Cap Bon, Hammamet and Nabeul.  The aggressive rollout will soon be extended to cover 71 percent of the population by the end of the year, with 87 percent coverage planned for early 2013.
 
Qtel Group companies continue to roll-out improved networks and enhanced services for customers across North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, recognising the major social and economic benefits that such improvements bring. According to the World Bank, a 10 percent increase in mobile broadband penetration drives 1.4 percent increase in GDP for low to middle income countries.
 
Nasser Marafih, CEO of the Qtel Group, commented that the Tunisiana team really did something exceptional in bringing 3G services to its customers only three months after receiving the license and just in time for the holy month of Ramadan. By giving faster internet access to more Tunisians at competitive prices, they are helping to fulfill two of their Group’s highest priorities: providing superior customer experience and offering the best broadband service possible.
 
Tunisiana’s license allows the company to deploy an HSPA+ network on both 900 Mhz and 2100 Mhz bands, providing for deeper indoor coverage for customers and high definition voice quality.
 
Ken Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of Tunisiana said that with this network, they are able to provide a quality 3G offering that will deliver the best customer experience in Tunisia.  Most importantly, Tunisiana will continue its tradition of providing affordable, flexible offerings for all Tunisians, including the lowest price 3G handset. The Tunisiana offering will include flexible tariffs allowing for daily, weekly and monthly usage.
 
The Qtel Group continues to execute a unified, broadband?ready strategy for introducing high-speed Internet services across multiple markets around the world, to provide an enriched experience for its 84 million customers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012 12:47:32 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has launched a national project aimed at providing basic telecoms services to over 150 villages in remote and rural areas of the country, Times of Oman reports. Implementation of the project will begin in the third quarter of this year and is expected to be completed by the end of 2013. Work will be carried out in cooperation with the Sultanate’s two licensed telecoms operators, Oman Telecommunications (Omantel) and Nawras, which will build a total of 120 base transceiver stations (BTS) in rural areas. ‘Telecoms companies usually target areas with high population density that have economic returns in order to develop their networks and provide various services,’ noted Dr Hamed Al Rawahi, chief executive of the TRA, adding: ‘Though this initiative will provide telecoms services in many additional areas, there would be areas that will remain without services. This is an issue that the TRA is currently working on through implementing field surveys in the remaining areas, upon specifying such areas the TRA will set the plans to accomplish the coverage of the remaining villages, in coordination with other government authorities.’

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 4:09:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat), the United Arab Emirates’ incumbent telecoms operator, has slashed the price of its basic broadband packages in the face of increasing competition from sole rival Du. The National cites Rashid Majid Al Abbar, Etisalat’s vice president of home products marketing, as saying that the company has reduced the price of its 1Mbps internet package, which includes a fixed telephony line, from AED259 (USD70.5) per month to AED189, with the aim of enticing users away from slower 256kbps and 512kbps connections. ‘That is the long-term strategy… We want to have more high speed customers,’ Mr Al Abbar said. Etisalat is also studying the possibility of reducing landline rates by between 10% and 30% for local calls, as well as international calls to ‘specific destinations.’ The move could be implemented in the second half of the year, the Etisalat executive said, but first requires the approval of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). The regulator is currently gearing up for the commercial introduction of bitstream access later this year, following a trial service with selected customers launched in July 2011. The introduction of bitstream access will break the monopolies held by Etisalat and Du within their respective areas by enabling consumers nationwide to choose between the two providers for their fixed line voice and broadband services.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 3:53:57 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Bahrain’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has issued an order to the country’s dominant telecoms operator Batelco, setting new wholesale regulated access and interconnection rates for 2012. Under the order the telco’s bitstream and wholesale DSL charges are decreasing by between 2% and 26% compared to current prices; interconnection links charges are being cut by between 30% and 50%; interconnection services charges remain unchanged; duct access rates are similarly unaltered (although the TRA has introduced a maximum price that Batelco can charge to alternative operators for the field study stage required prior to cabling); domestic leased line wholesale costs are dropping by up to 46%; fees for international leased half circuits to Gulf countries are falling by between 28% and 68%, and for Southeast/East Asia, Europe and the USA, the wholesale tariffs have been cut by between 41% and 45%.

Source: Telegeography

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 3:14:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, June 22, 2012

Orange Jordan, a subsidiary of Jordan Telecom Group, said that its fixed and wireless broadband Internet represents around 55 percent of the kingdom’s total market share.
 
Orange Jordan’s Chief Executive Sami Smeirat told Dow Jones Newswires that they have around 400,000 subscribers in both the wire and wireless broadband.
 
As per the report, Smeirat said Orange, in which France Telecom (FTE) owns a 51 percent stake, has currently over 34 percent market penetration as far as the mobile services are concerned, or around 2.6 million subscribers.
 
Jordan currently has three mobile operators, including Zain Jordan, a subsidiary of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company, Orange Jordan, and Batelco’s unit Umniah.
 
Orange Jordan saw growth in broadband 3G services boosting the 2011 bottom line in a sector which has seen a fierce turf war among the three operators and is hit by sluggish economic growth.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, June 22, 2012 3:07:45 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Saudi Arabian telco Etihad Etisalat, which trades as Mobily, has awarded India-based software vendor Xius a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE) management contract. With the Saudi government preparing to offer its first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) licences, network owners such as Mobily need to be ready to host resellers. Mobily has therefore contracted Xius to deploy its Mobile Services Platform infrastructure and framework. Mobily is the second largest cellular operator in Saudi Arabia, with 21.3 million subscribers and 37% of the overall wireless market at the end of 2011, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 2:56:43 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Following the rejection of its initial bid by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technologies (MinCom), Tunisiana has been awarded licences for fixed line and 3G mobile operations. The Qatar Telecom (Qtel) subsidiary will pay TND205 million (USD131.52 million) for the concessions, TND44 million higher than its earlier bid. As previously noted by CommsUpdate, Tunisiana has enlisted Chinese vendor Huawei for the rollout of its 3G network infrastructure.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, June 22, 2012 11:47:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The appeal hearing regarding a $1.25 billion fine on Djezzy has been postponed until May 27 as reported by Reuters. The appeal hearing on the local mobile phone unit of Russian telecoms firm Vimpelcom had already been postponed once, a week earlier.
 
As per the report, Djezzy chief executive Tamer El Mahdy, who has been convicted in the case and faces jail if the conviction is upheld, was not in court for Sunday’s hearing. A lower court ruled in March that Djezzy and its CEO were guilty of violating foreign exchange regulations. Djezzy’s parent company denied the allegations against it and its chief executive, and lodged an appeal.
 
Reuters reveals that Djezzy has been the subject of a long-running dispute with the Algerian government, during which the firm has been hit by back-tax demands, threatened with nationalisation, and put under criminal investigation. Vimpelcom acquired Djezzy last year when it bought the assets of previous owner, Egyptian firm Orascom Telecom.
 
Under pressure from the Algerian government, Vimpelcom agreed to talks on selling a controlling stake in Djezzy to the Algerian state. However, the decision to impose the $1.25 billion fine soured those talks and prompted Vimpelcom to announce it was going to international arbitration against Algeria.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, June 22, 2012 10:47:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Telecom operator Tunisiana Telecom has received the required licences to operate fixed line and 3G mobile services in the North African country. According to reports, the Ministry for Information Technologies and Communications said that the operator will pay $132 million for these rights.
 
The minister claims that this bid will enhance considerably the competitiveness of the Tunisian communication market and ensure easy access to the fast speed Internet countrywide.
 
The operator is expected to launch its 3G network in July 2012, while it will offer its fixed-line services in early 2013.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Friday, June 22, 2012 10:05:53 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 14, 2011

­A meeting of Government Ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has agreed to work on cutting mobile roaming rates between their countries.

The GCC Ministers decided to adhere to the Ministerial resolution made at a meeting three years ago, which stated that the GCC countries will move the implementation of proposals from a working group for a 30% cut in roaming rates.

In a statement, the GCC Telecommunications Regulatory Authorities said that they will inform the operators immediately after the meeting to implement the resolution. The GCC is a political and economic union of the Arab states constituting the Arabian Peninsula, namely Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.

Source: Cellular News

 

Thursday, July 14, 2011 9:47:58 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 08, 2011

New research from the Arab Advisors Group reveals that 87%of Arab cellular operators provide the MMS service. The SMS service, which is providedby all mobile operators in the region, is priced quite differently across theregion. Yemen and Palestine have the lowest average SMS rates, while Morocco and Syria have the highest.

The research shows that the rate of SMS including taxes in Moroccois the highest. Morocco's highestrates are followed by Syria,Lebanon, Algeria, Qatar,Kuwait, Libya, UAE, Egypt,Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq,Oman, Bahrain, Sudan,Tunisia, Yemen and Palestine.

Click here to see full article
Source: Arab Advisors Group
Tuesday, February 08, 2011 4:01:34 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, March 16, 2009

United Arab Emirates-based telco Etisalat has announced it has reached 500,000 residential broadband subscribers, bringing the country’s broadband penetration rate to 11.4%. The company’s chief corporate affairs officer, Nasser bin Obood, commented: ‘This is above many international benchmarks and means that to grow penetration even further, we need to take a different approach - we need to be service driven.’ He added that to achieve further growth in the market, the company will invest in areas such as IPTV, technical support and mobile broadband.

Click here to see full article

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, March 16, 2009 9:30:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gulf Daily News reports that Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has cut internet tariffs by 70%. The move is believed to be prompted by the impending arrival of three fixed line operators to the Saudi market, namely Hong Kong's PCCW, Bahraini incumbent Batelco, and a consortium led by Verizon Communications of the US and including Luxembourg-based Millicom International Cellular (MIC). Currently STC is the sole fixed line voice operator, and faces competition in the broadband sector from just one company, Mobily.

Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 12, 2009 10:44:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Iraqi wireless operator Asiacell announced it has expanded its network to cover the regions of Al-Anbar and Diyala. The company’s services are now available to an additional three million potential subscribers, and now cover all of the country’s 18 governorates. Asiacell CEO, Diar Ahmed, said: ‘Today, Asiacell is at the forefront of Iraq’s mobile telecoms sector, having achieved its goal of becoming the first company to effectively bring its services to every Iraqi citizen, wherever they may be.’ Asiacell is Iraq’s second largest cellco by subscribers and was awarded a 15-year national GSM-900/1800 licence in August 2007 at the cost of USD1.25 billion. At the end of 2008 it had a wireless subscriber base of six million, up from 4.2 million a year earlier.

In a separate story, Middle East Business Intelligence has reported that Iraq’s finance ministers plan to enforce a clause requiring operators to float around 25% of their capital on the Baghdad bourse as a condition of the licences they bought in August 2007. The authorities have given the country’s mobile operators until 2010 to fulfill the new agreement. According to the report, the country’s three largest mobile companies, Asiacell, Zain and Korek Telecom, will make a significant difference to the overall capitalisation of the market, which currently stands at just USD2 billion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 9:59:26 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Qatar Telecom has posted a record high of more than 1.8 million mobile customers in Qatar. The subscribers have now exceeded the total population of Qatar, as people look to own multiple phones for business and personal use. Despite of global economic recession, the rapid accumulation of new subscribers up from 1.5 million in November 2008 was achieved.

The gain reflects both the underlying strength of Qatar’s economy and Qtel’s ongoing success in developing new products and services that exceed its customers’ expectations.

The boost in the subscriber base is attributed to re-launch of two of Qtel’s product, the HALA Pay-As-You-Talk service (prepaid) and the all-new “Shahry” post-paid mobile phone service.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 9:46:42 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 10, 2009

­The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is investing US$30 million in Wataniya Palestine, as part of a US$85 million loan, to help build a mobile-phone network in the Palestinian West Bank. Wataniya Palestine is a joint venture of the Palestine Investment Fund and Wataniya Telecom, which is majority-owned by Qatar’s Qtel.

"The network being built by Wataniya Palestine will use the internationally popular GSM standard. It will help address the Palestinian territories telecommunications needs, which are critical for supporting economic growth and integration. Wataniya Palestine’s entry into the sector will improve the current low tele-density, increase competition, and help accelerate market growth.

“IFC’s investment shows a vote of confidence in the economic prospects of the Palestinian territories telecommunications sector, which is an essential element of building the local economy, creating jobs, and offering customers new, high-quality products and services,” said Allan Richardson, Wataniya’s Chief Executive Officer.

Click here to see full article
Source: Cellular News.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009 11:22:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Lebanon will see a downfall in the mobile call rates by April’09. The government has official announced a reduction in call rates for both prepaid and post paid cards in order to lower the pressure on the the Lebanese.

The reduced call rates, according to the telecom minister Jebran Bassil, will save the Lebanese $225 million annually. The minister din’t predict a downfall in the revenues of the telcos as the country predicts that the country’s subscriber base is likely to rise to 2million.

Click here to see full article
Source: Wireless Federation.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009 9:39:25 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 29, 2009

UAE's mobile subscriber base accounting of two wireless operators, Etisalat and Du. Etisalat reached to 7.3 million in Q4'08 at December'08-end, rising from 6.37 million a year earlier. Etisalat's market share decreased from 77.24% in Septemberf08 to 74% at December'08-end whereas Du's market share rose from 22.76% to 26% in the same time period. The operator forecasts a 28.2% rise in net income at 2008-end to $2.5 billion. At the end of December Du had an estimated 3.05 million subscribers, up from 2.07 million a year earlier. Du's revenue is also expected to have grown by 8.6% in 2008, boosted by strong mobile revenue growth.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 11:27:32 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, January 19, 2009

In a statement last night, the Lebanese government said that Kuwait’s Zain Group and Egypt’s Orascom Telecom had both been awarded one-year contracts to manage the operations of the country’s two GSM mobile networks, commencing 1 February. An extension to Zain’s contract to run Mobile Interim Company (MIC 2), under the name MTC Touch Lebanon, officially ran out last month, but the Kuwaiti group has been allowed to remain at the helm, whilst Orascom will take over the reins of MIC 1, branded as Alfa, from the Ministry of Telecoms (MoT), after the state cancelled the operating contract of Fal Dete Telecommunications, a joint venture of Deutsche Telekom subsidiary DeTeCon International and Saudi Arabia's Fal Holdings, at the beginning of December. Zain and Orascom beat off a rival bid from France Telecom. Information Minister Tareq Mitri said: ‘These two companies have...experience in the Lebanese market that allows them to manage well and positions them as the best companies to run this sector.’ According to local press, the new contracts are worth USD145 million. The privatisation of MIC 1 & 2 has been put on hold until after the next elections in May 2009.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, January 19, 2009 1:56:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Viva, Kuwait’s third mobile network operator, has announced the launch of mobile broadband services for its customers. Viva is an overseas license of Saudi Telecom Co (STC) and began operations in September last year. Huawei has supplied the network which allows Viva to offer high speed wireless broadband at speeds up to14Mbps, although no USB devices currently support more than 7.2Mbps. Customers signing up to the new service in January can make use of a special deal offering unlimited internet access, a free USB modem and data SIM card for KWD20 (USD70.53) per month.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, January 19, 2009 1:55:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Adel Al Mutawa, executive director of group communications, said: "By reaching 1.5 million customers, Qtel has demonstrated our ability to offer something for everybody in Qatar, and our capacity to match the nation's ongoing growth with impressive development of our own."

In reaching its 1.5 millionth customer, Qtel has significantly grown its mobile phone customer base from 1.26 million recorded in 2007. The customer subscribe base now exceeds the total population of Qatar, as people look to own multiple phones for business and personal use, the company said in a statement.

In the Qtel Group announcement for the 2008 third quarter, the company recorded more than 55.7 million consolidated customers across its global operations.

Source: Gulf News.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009 10:48:23 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Etisalat, one of the well known mobile operators across the globe, has won the third mobile phone licence in Iran. Etisalat will be in competition with the two Iranian incumbents ITC and MTN. Etisalat aims to tap a market with a mobile market penetration of less than 60, where more than half of the population of some 70 million people are under 25 years of age.
The licence will be legally applicable only once it recieves an approval from Iran’s minister of telecommunications.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 11:29:08 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 15, 2008

In Oman, the subscriber base has crossed the mark of three-million for the first time. According to the statistics revealed by the Ministry of National Economy, the subscriber base totals to 3,084,941 at the end of September in comparison to 2,500,000 a year earlier, up 23.4%. Post-paid subscribers totalled 316,441, against 293,622, up 7.8% and pre-paid customers 2,768,500, compared with 2,206,378, up 25.5%. There are two mobile operators, Oman Mobile (Majority state-owned) and the Nawras.  In a move to liberalise mobile sector in Oman, TRA has this year granted licences to five resellers.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Monday, December 15, 2008 10:11:44 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, December 04, 2008

du, second largest operator of UAE has instigated a scheme called ‘double your talk time’. Under this scheme any du subscribers who buy “Pay as you Go” line or renew his existing one for Dh55 gets double the amount back as free credit of up to Dh110. The subscribers can make use of this offer after recharges done in the form of Dh10 on every third recharge up to a maximum of Dh110, from the time of first call for new customers or renewal for existing customers.

Click here to see full article

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:32:30 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Thanks to its One Region One Rate roaming scheme, all du mobile subscribers can enjoy calling local numbers and receiving calls at just AED 1.25 per minute, while roaming in the GCC region.

The unified rates come into effect immediately without any extra charges and will be available by default to all du customers while they roam in the GCC region. du mobile customers can choose any telecom operator during roaming in the GCC while still benefitting from this attractive scheme.

Click here to see full article

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:29:13 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

The Lebanese government approves the reduction in mobile call fees to 10%/min along with other service fees. According to Information Minister Lebanon, Tareq Mitri, the Cabinet has approved the extension of mobile infrastructure and recommendations for improved services. He additionally said the Cabinet also gave a thumbs up to the recommendations by Telecoms Minister Jebran Bassil last week to end the existing management contract of cellco Alfa and let the communications ministry itself manage the Alfa network.
He further revealed a two month deadline for implementation of the following approvals by government.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, December 04, 2008 1:23:22 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The new Arab Advisors’ survey of Jordan's Internet users also revealed that WiMAX operators had an 8.3% share of residential broadband Internet accounts in the country. Retail e-commerce in Jordan reached an estimated US$ 181 million the 12 months between November 2007 and November 2008.

 

Arab Advisors’ online survey revealed that of the respondents who have an ADSL subscription at home, 13.3% share it with neighbors. 28% of those sharing share the ADSL connection with two more households, 22.7% with three additional households and 29.3% with one additional household.

Click here to see full article

Source: Arab Advisors Group.

 

 

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:53:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

A new report from Arab Advisors Group analyzes and ranks 30 fixed services operators and 50 cellular operators in nineteen Arab countries. STC’s Al Jawwal, Egypt’s Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt are the largest Arab cellular operators in terms of subscribers.

 

With the advent of new operators and increased competition in 2008, cellular subscribers in 19 examined Arab countries reached 194.533 million. ALJAWAL and MobiNil sustained their top rankings by H1 2008, with 17.800 million and 16.328 million subscribers respectively. Vodafone Egypt ended the first six months of 2008 with 15.202 million subscribers, settling as the third largest mobile operator in the region. UAE recorded the highest cellular penetration rate by H1 2008, which stood at 198.6% followed by Saudi Arabia (123.3%). Both countries report subscribers based on active on the switch method. UAE also had the highest fixed line penetration rate by H1 2008, which stood at 29.4%.

Click here to see full article

Source: Arab Advisors Group.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 4:46:47 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Kuwait’s third mobile operator VIVA will commence operations from Wednesday with the competition in market soaring up. STC’s VIVA has to compete with giants like Zain and Wataniya. As quoted in September Chief Executive Najeeb Alawadhi said that VIVA aims to attract 300,000 subscribers in its first year of operation.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008 10:35:13 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, October 16, 2008

Egypt mobile market has reached a total subscriber base of 33.86million as Q2Œ08 ends, net addition of 3.01million quaterly and 10.99 million yearly. The penetration rose from 28.5% to 41.5%, seeing a rise of 13% on y-to-y basis. The 9.8% growth in Q2 overpowered the Q1 growth of 6.6%. The annual growth rate of Egyptian mobile market fell acutely to 29.2% compared to last yearfs 61.7%.

Mobinil lead the market 16.33million subscribers, adding 1.31million subscribers in the quarter and 4.82million in past one year. Oddly, the market leader Mobinil lost itfs market share to the upcoming mobile operator Etisalat, and posted itfs lowest ever market share of 48.2% and annual growth rate of 59.2%.

Following the footprints of Mobinil, Vodafone also lost 2.7pp of itfs market share coming down to 44.3% by the end of Q2, and this dip came when Vodafone saw a perked up growth of 4.25million in subscriber base, crossing the 15million mark. The operator recorded an annual growth of 25.4%, falling to half since last year.

Etisalat, completing an year in the Egyptian market, had a subscriber base of 2.53million subscribers by the end of Q2, a rise of 94.9% since itfs launch. The mobile operator earned a market share of 7.5% in past one year, rising from 2.6%.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Thursday, October 16, 2008 2:20:40 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, August 08, 2008
Moroccan regulator Agence Nationale de Reglementation de Telecom (ANRT) has released its statistical report for the second quarter of 2008. According to the watchdog’s figures, total mobile telephony subscribers increased by 3.86%, or 796,000 in the three months to the end of June to 21.412 million subscribers (up 22.39% from 17.495 million a year earlier, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database). Maroc Telecom accounted for almost exactly one-third of mobile subscribers with 14.211 million at the end of the second quarter (up by 514,000 since March), with Meditel accounting for the other 7.201 million (up 282,000 on the previous quarter). The ANRT said mobile penetration reached 69.43%, up from 57.82% in June 2007.

The mobile figures do not include the sector’s newest operator Wana, despite it launching commercial mobile services on 10 June. As of the end of June, domestically-owned Wana had not reported mobile user tallies to the ANRT, so all its CDMA-based subscribers remain classified as fixed line/limited mobility. In the fixed sector (which includes limited mobility), Wana took over from Maroc Telecom as the largest provider by customers in 2Q 2008, ending the period with a share of 51.65% (1.426 million subscribers out of a total of 2.761 million), ahead of Maroc Telecom’s 48.12% and a marginal share of 0.23% for Meditel. Overall fixed subscriber growth in the quarter was 1.89%, entirely attributed to Wana. The picture is likely to change significantly when the ANRT reports third quarter statistics, however, with a large portion of Wana’s subscriber base likely to have switched from limited mobility CDMA services to a fully mobile service with national roaming.

Total internet subscribers in Morocco reached 653,591 at mid-2008 against 581,866 three months earlier, an increase of 12.33%. ADSL broadband subscribers, virtually all of which are served by Maroc Telecom, accounted for 74.7% of the total, with a further 24.3% subscribing to 3G wireless broadband services and 1% on dial-up connections. The 3G wireless broadband sector saw 82% growth since the end of March, to take the total users to 158,869 at end-June. Wana comfortably claimed the majority with 117,531 subscribers to its CDMA2000 1xEV-DO-based service, ahead of its HSDPA-based rivals Meditel (27,563 subscriptions) and Maroc Telecom (13,774). Maroc Telecom previously reported that its ADSL subscriber total remained static in the three months ended 30 June, at 482,000.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, August 08, 2008 9:13:34 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Maroc Telecom has reported a 10% year-on-year rise in first half consolidated group revenues to MAD14.308 billion (USD1.985 billion), thanks to the continuing growth of its domestic and foreign mobile operations. Domestic revenues in the first half of 2008 amounted to MAD12.511 billion, up 9.8%, with mobile revenues in Morocco increasing by 12.9% to MAD8.923 billion following the full commercial launch of 3.5G voice and internet services in January. Moroccan mobile customers rose 21.3% year-on-year to reach 14.2 million at the end of June 2008, up from 13.7 million in the previous year and 13.3 million at the start of the year. Mobile ARPU in the six month period fell 8.2% year-on-year to MAD98.6, whilst average outgoing usage was maintained at approximately the same level as H1 2007. Fixed line (including internet) operations in Morocco achieved six-month gross revenues of MAD4.75 billion, up by 0.5%, as the fixed line customer base reached 1.329 million, up by 0.3% compared to June 2007. A 3.9% decrease in average monthly wireline user bills was offset by revenues of data and internet services respectively increasing by 17.3% and 9.1%. The ADSL customer base reached 482,000 lines at the end of June 2008, up 10.0% y-o-y, whilst the company claimed 14,000 Mobile 3G+ wireless broadband subscribers by that date.

Mauritel, Maroc Telecom’s Mauritanian unit, earned revenues of MAD519 million in H1 2008, down 3.7%, affected by exchange rates, despite its mobile customer base growing 32.3% to exceed one million at the end of June. Mauritel’s fixed line subscriber lines increased by 27.8% to 46,000. Burkina Faso subsidiary Onatel achieved first half sales of MAD715 million, up 9.0%, as its mobile subscribers increased by 95% year-on-year to 756,000 at end-June, mainly thanks to extended network coverage. Onatel increased its fixed line customer base by 21.5% in the period to 130,000 lines. At Gabonese unit Gabon Telecom, revenues of all business activities amounted to MAD529 million in the first six months of 2008, down 18.5% on a comparable basis mainly due to substantial price cuts carried out over the last year. Users of Gabon Telecom’s Libertis mobile phone service reached 424,000 at mid-year, up 61.2% y-o-y, whilst its fixed lines in service increased by 40.9% to 31,000.

Mobisud, Maroc Telecom’s MVNO in France and Belgium, reported total six-month revenues of MAD91 million, with a total of 155,000 customers at end-June 2008, down slightly on March, due to an ‘active customer base cleaning process’ by Mobisud France during the second quarter.

In the second quarter ended June 2008, Maroc Telecom’s consolidated group turnover rose 6.5% year-on-year to MAD7.343 billion.

Source: TeleGeography.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 12:32:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, July 21, 2008

Saudi Telecom Company (STC), which is the dominant fixed line and cellular operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has reported a second quarter net profit of SAR3.84 billion (USD1.02 billion), up 24% year-on-year. Operating profit grew 21% to SAR3.91 billion. The firm says the growth can be attributed to domestic mobile and broadband services plus higher income from its international operations; earlier this year STC acquired a 35% stake in Oger Telecom, which has cellular operations in markets including Turkey, South Africa and Romania.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 21, 2008 1:21:33 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Saudi Arabia’s number two cellular operator Mobily has reported a 47.4% jump in net profits for the second quarter to SAR448 million (USD119.5 million), from SAR304 million in the same period last year. Operating profit was up 24% at SAR530 million, while revenues grew 25% to SAR2.54 billion. Mobily claims 39% of the Saudi cellular market, with 11.1 million subscribers.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, July 21, 2008 1:18:20 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 17, 2008

A new Arab Advisors Group survey of Egypt’s urban households reveals rampant broadband account sharing between neighbors. A massive 81.9% of households that use shared ADSL lines share them with more than three neighboring households. The Arab Advisors Group projects that around a million Egyptian households have access to broadband, due to the widespread practice of ADSL accounts sharing.

A new major survey, “Egypt Households Telecoms and Media Survey Report 2008” was concluded and released by the Arab Advisors Group on April 24, 2008. This survey report can be purchased from the Arab Advisors Group for US$ 4,500. Subscribers to Arab Advisors Group Strategic Research Services can order the report for US$ 3,500.

The 159-page report, which has 262 detailed exhibits, provides the results of a major comprehensive survey of the telecommunications and media usage patterns and habits of the population across the Egyptian governorates of Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Dakahlia, Gharbia, Sohaj and Minya. The survey fieldwork was conducted during March and April 2008.

63.4% of Egyptian households with an ADSL connection reported sharing the ADSL connection with neighbors. Of those, a massive 81.9% share one ADSL line with more than three neighboring households.

“According to official figures from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Egypt had 427,085 ADSL lines by the end of 2007. The Arab Advisors Group estimates that 75% of those are residential ADSL lines.” Jawad J. Abbassi, Founder and General Manager of Arab Advisors Group noted. “Based on the survey results, the average number of households sharing one ADSL connection is 2.98. Multiplying the reported number of lines by this figure yields an estimate for households with ADSL connections in Egypt of 956,000 households by end of 2007.” Mr. Abbassi added.

Source: Arab Advisory Group.

Thursday, July 17, 2008 8:24:35 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, July 04, 2008

Israel was dumped from third to fifth position in the Middle-East & Africa (MEA) penetration rankings in Q1 2008 as both the Seychelles and Qatar overtook it to line up behind the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which have held the top two places for the last year. If the second quarter even came close to matching the first in the UAE, then that market will have finished June with a penetration rate in excess of 200%, the rate having stood at 192.5% at the end of March.

MEA: Number of markets in each penetration band

The ownership in Bahrain was more than 20pp behind, at 172.2%, although in the last two quarters at least, the rate has been growing noticeably quicker than in the UAE. The rate in Qatar and the Seychelles has been progressing much more steadily, but both overtook Israel as penetration fell for the first time ever from 127.1% to 126.3% in Q1 08. Four other markets - Kuwait, Reunion, Saudi Arabia and Libya - boasted penetration rates in excess of 100% at the end of March 2008.

Libya became the first mainland African market to join this elite club in the quarter, as the quite remarkable rise of mobility in the country continues.

South Africa was the tenth most penetrated market at the end of Q1 08 with a rate of 96.6%, after also suffering a decline in penetration (although in this case not its first) from 97.9% in the quarter. The penetration rates of a further seven markets also lay within the fourth quartile at the end of March, these being Botswana (90%), Algeria (87%), Oman (83%), Gabon (80%), Jordan (79%), Tunisia (78%) and new entrant Mauritius (76%). Perhaps surprisingly, only three markets - Morocco, Gambia and Mauritania - finished Q1 with penetration rates between 50% and 75%. However, Iran joined them just a few days after the end of the quarter, the mobile ownership rate there having stood at 49.6% at the end of March.

Iran breaking the 50% barrier would have taken the total number of markets with penetration rates in excess of 50% to 21, after Mauritania and Gambia took the total from 18 to 20 in the first quarter. Including Iran, 50 of the 70 markets in the MEA region finished Q1 08 with penetration rates below 50%. However, progress is clear to see. At the end of Q1 07, 36 of markets had penetration rates of 25% or below, a number which fell to 25 a year layer.

Source: Cellular News.

Friday, July 04, 2008 3:32:23 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, July 03, 2008

The chart shows the fastest growing businesses in the MEA region over a twelve month view. The list includes nine of the names that feature in the Q1 08 list, with Zain Iraq coming in at Algerie Telecom Mobile’s expense. The top two places are the same in the year as they are in the quarter, with TCI’s 9.12m just shading Irancell’s 7.95m. The other really strong performances in the region were spread across five main markets - with Mobily in Saudi Arabia taking third place ahead of two Egyptian companies, three from Nigeria and one each from Iraq and Kenya.

Leading MNOs by Net Additions, year to 31st March 08

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, July 03, 2008 8:00:49 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 25, 2008

According to a report from The Syria Report Newsletter, Syria’s state owned national monopoly fixed line and internet operator Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) has awarded China’s Huawei Technologies a EUR877,000 (USD1.36 million) contract to install 33,000 new ADSL lines in the country. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database writes that STE offers dial-up and ADSL broadband access through two wholly owned ISPs, 190 and Syrian Computer Society (SCS). There were an estimated 16,500 broadband subscribers by end-2007 (latest available figure) and around 300,000 dial-up subscribers.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 9:18:05 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Oman was home to a total of 2.7 million mobile phones at the end of March 2008, up 9.2% from 2.5 million at the start of the year, the Khaleej Times reports citing latest official government statistics. Of the total, post-paid subscriptions accounted for 292,894 users, down 0.2% from 293,622 at the start of the year, but this was more than offset by a 10.5% rise in pay-as-you-go users from 2.2 million to 2.4 million. At the same date the country counted 115,506 internet users (+64%), of which 52,351 were dial-up accounts and 23,969 were ADSL connections. Leased line connections stood at 319 at end-March and other internet connections 1,267. During the period under review, the number of main lines in service increased marginally by 2.3% to 267,169 from 261,207.

Source: TeleGeography.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 1:24:17 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The CDMA Development Group (CDG) has announced that the CDMA industry continued its strong growth through the first quarter of 2008, increasing its customer base by almost 17% over the past year to 451 million CDMA subscribers worldwide, with CDMA2000 and CDMA2000 1xEV-DO reaching 438 million and 97 million, respectively. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) regions claimed the highest year-over-year percentage subscriber growth for CDMA2000, while the Americas and EMEA experienced the highest percentage of subscriber growth for CDMA2000 1xEV-DO.


In APAC, the total CDMA subscribership (cdmaOneTM and CDMA2000) rose to 231 million, which accounts for 51% of total worldwide CDMA subscribers and marks a 30% increase from March 2007 to March 2008. North America’s 140 million subscribers claim the second highest percentage of global CDMA subscribers at approximately 31%, with CALA’s 62.8 million representing approximately 14%. In EMEA, CDMA subscribership reached 17.7 million.

Over 97% of CDMA subscribers around the world are now taking advantage of 3G CDMA2000 services. CDMA2000 grew by 38% in APAC over the past year, bringing the total number of CDMA2000 subscribers in the region to 223 million, accounting for almost 51% of the world’s users. North America is the second largest region for CDMA2000 with nearly 138 million, or 31% of the global users. In EMEA, the CDMA2000 subscriber base reached 16.5 million.

CDMA2000 1xEV-DO subscribership increased to 97 million users globally, with 52 million subscribers in North America and 39 million subscribers in APAC continuing to comprise the majority of the world’s EV-DO users at 54% and 40%, respectively. Uptake is surging in North America and EMEA where increased demand for mobile broadband raised subscribership by 74%and 123%, respectively. The CDG attributes this growth to outstanding broadband performance and, for emerging markets, 3G CDMA’s suitability across varied terrain to serve as an alternative to wireline Internet access.

To date, 38 EV-DO Revision A (Rev. A) networks are in commercial operation around the world, with another 35 networks in deployment.

Source: Cellular News.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 8:05:59 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, May 12, 2008

The UAE's second national operator (SNO) Du has admitted that one in five of its subscribers have never used their account, according to Dubai business daily the Kipp Report. According to the operator, the total number of mobile customers at 31 March 2008 was around 1.7 million, out of which 354,000 subscribers had not made a call or sent a text or picture message during the first three months of their subscription.

The Telecoms Regulatory Authority defines an ‘active subscriber’ as one who has made or received a call, or sent an SMS or MMS, within the last 90 days. Du is hoping that its admission will be seen as an act of transparency and will win favour for the brand. Thanks to giveaway promotions many UAE users signed up for Du account, but continue to use their Etisalat number.

Du released the active subscribers' numbers along with its first quarter results. The company reported revenues for the quarter ending 31 March 2008 of around USD20 million, an increase of 18% over the previous quarter and 313% compared with the first quarter of 2007, during which it first launched services. Du’s bottom line for the first three months of 2008 was a loss of around USD16 million, compared with a loss of USD40 million incurred in the final quarter of 2008.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, May 12, 2008 3:51:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, April 28, 2008

A new Arab Advisors Group survey of Egypt’s urban households reveals rampant broadband account sharing between neighbors. A massive 81.9% of households that use shared ADSL lines share them with more than three neighboring households. The Arab Advisors Group projects that around a million Egyptian households have access to broadband, due to the widespread practice of ADSL accounts sharing.

A new major survey, "Egypt Households Telecoms and Media Survey Report 2008" was concluded and released by the Arab Advisors Group on April 24, 2008. This survey report can be purchased from the Arab Advisors Group for US$ 4,500. Subscribers to Arab Advisors Group Strategic Research Services can order the report for US$ 3,500.

The 159-page report, which has 262 detailed exhibits, provides the results of a major comprehensive survey of the telecommunications and media usage patterns and habits of the population across the Egyptian governorates of Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Dakahlia, Gharbia, Sohaj and Minya. The survey fieldwork was conducted during March and April 2008.

63.4% of Egyptian households with an ADSL connection reported sharing the ADSL connection with neighbors. Of those, a massive 81.9% share one ADSL line with more than three neighboring households.

Arab-Advisors-28April2008.doc (94.5 KB)

Source: Arab Advisors Group.

Monday, April 28, 2008 12:25:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, April 10, 2008

Iran had the fifth fastest growing mobile market in the MEA region in 2007, with the number of subscribers almost doubling year on year from 14.33m at the end of 2006 to 28.51m at the end of 2007. In absolute terms, no market in the region gained more new connections than Iran in 2007.

This extraordinary growth (a 98.9% annual increase) can be attributed to the launch of Irancell in the final quarter of 2006. Having added 0.15m customers in its first two months of operation, Irancell surpassed the 1m barrier during Q1 07, and during Q4 it went through 5m to finish the year on 6.01m customers. This represents a phenomenal annual growth rate of 3800%. On a quarterly basis, the 61.5% growth of Q4 was the lowest rate seen so far, but this was still higher than the year-on-year increase recorded by market leader Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI).

Iran: Quarterly Net Additions, Irancell and TCI

Click here to see full article

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 2:22:35 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, March 06, 2008

Syria’s state-owned incumbent fixed line operator the Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE) has announced ambitious plans to invest upwards of USD1.5 billion over the next five years to expand its landline network to rural areas, reports online news portal AMEinfo. STE is forecasting revenues of SYP62.5 billion (USD1.25 billion) in 2008, up 13% year-on-year, driven mainly by strong growth from the nation’s two mobile operators – MTN Syria and SyriaTel – both of which currently hand over 50% of their annual turnover to the company by dint of their Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) licences; last year they were required to hand over 40% of their income.

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Source: TeleGeography.

Thursday, March 06, 2008 12:00:58 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, February 28, 2008

The CDMA Development Group (CDG) has announced that CDMA subscribers grew to more than 431 million, and CDMA2000 grew to more than 417 million during last year. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region added the most net subscribers, and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) grew the fastest by percentage.

CDMA2000 subscribership among the 250 networks worldwide grew 16% in 2007, including strong sales figures for broadband EV-DO devices and services. The EV-DO subscriber base grew from 55 million to 90.5 million in 2007, achieving a compound annual growth rate of more than 64%.

APAC and North America claimed the majority of customers, with 49% and 32% of the global market, respectively. APAC added 6.2 million in Q4 2007 to reach 211 million subscribers, making it the largest net growth region in the world. North America alone has more than 137 million CDMA subscribers. APAC and EMEA saw the greatest year-over-year growth, with 24% and 60%, respectively. Other highly-concentrated regions for CDMA are India with more than 61 million subscribers, China with 42 million, and Indonesia with 14 million. In addition, more and more operators in emerging countries are reaching the one-million CDMA subscriber mark. For example, Angola's Movicel, Morocco's WANA, Starcomms of Nigeria, PTCL in Pakistan, Sudatel and Yemen Mobile all saw subscribership race past this milestone in 2007.

The CDG also noted that 2007 also saw an explosion in the availability of both low- and high-end devices. More than 350 devices were introduced on a commercial basis. Today, more than 82 very low-end (VLE) CDMA2000 handsets (under US$50 wholesale) are available globally from 19 suppliers.

Perhaps most important to the designation of 2007 as a critical year for CDMA is the number of CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Revision A (Rev. A) deployments that took place. At the beginning of the year, only three operators had deployed Rev. A technology. Now, 26 operators worldwide have upgraded to Rev. A and another 31 operators are in the process of upgrading. Operators with working Rev. A networks have witnessed a substantial increase in their data revenue.

In addition, CDMA has found a home in new spectrum allocations. China Unicom made a successful bid to operate 3G in Macau and rolled-out its first CDMA2000 1xEV-DO network there in October. PCCW-HKT Telephone won a 15-year license to deploy and operate CDMA2000 in the 800 MHz band in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, several operators in the United States are considering CDMA2000 to offer Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) in the 1.7/2.1 GHz frequency band.

On the 450 and 700 MHz fronts, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) reached a decision to use the two bands for 3G and next-generation mobile services.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 5:42:55 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, February 25, 2008

Kuwait’s telecoms regulator and monopoly fixed line operator, the Ministry of Communications (MoC), reported revenues of KWD146.7 million (USD535.2 million) for 2007, according to a report from Arab Times. A comparative figure for the previous year was not given. The MoC says there were 800,153 telephone lines installed across Kuwait at the end of last year, of which 538,219 were active, giving a wireline penetration of around 18%.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:40:39 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Qatar Telecommunications (Qtel) has reported consolidated group revenues of QAR10.373 billion (USD2.9 billion), a year-on-year increase of 134.7% from QAR4.42 billion in 2006. The state-controlled full-service operator expanded its international operations dramatically by purchasing Kuwaiti group National Mobile Telecommunications Co (Wataniya) in March 2007, and now has a geographic presence in 16 countries. Qtel’s EBITDA reached QAR5.172 billion, an increase of over 97.5% on 2006’s figure of QAR2.619 billion, and the group reported a net profit of QAR1.878 billion (USD523.5 million), up from QAR1.646 billion (USD459 million) in 2006. Consolidated subscribers reached 16.4 million at the end of December (with seven million proportionate subscribers). Units in Qatar, Algeria, Iraq and Tunisia represented 9%, 28%, 26% and 22% respectively of consolidated customers. The number of GSM mobile phone users in Qatar increased 31% to 1.5 million and doemstic ARPU ‘was higher’ as the economy grew and the population expanded, the company said. Wireless services represented 87% (QAR9.054 billion) of total revenues; Qatar, Kuwait and Algeria contributed 43%, 21% and 10% of total turnover respectively.

Qtel’s fourth quarter net profit fell 9.6% year-on-year due to a one-off amortisation impact associated with its purchase of Wataniya, on revenues that more than doubled to QAR3.47 billion, compared with QAR1.34 billion in the year-ago period.

Source: TeleGeography.

Monday, February 25, 2008 4:37:11 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Friday, February 22, 2008

Kuwait’s National Mobile Telecommunications (Wataniya) has reported a fourth quarter profit of KWD21.3 million (USD77.96 million), down almost 8% year-on-year, though profits for the full year were up 50% at KWD80.7 million. Revenue for 2007 stood at KWD407.6 million. Majority owned by Qatar Telecom, Wataniya is Kuwait’s second largest cellular operator, with around 1.2 million subscribers and a 43% share of the overall market at the end of 2007.

Source: TeleGeography.

Friday, February 22, 2008 10:47:43 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The number of mobile phone subscribers in Egypt reached 30.047 million at the end of 2007, up from 29.368 million in November and 18.001 million at the end of 2006, according to figures from the ICT ministry. Mobile penetration was at 40.62 percent of the population at year-end. Fixed-line density increased marginally to 15.2 percent at the end of 2007 from 15 percent a year earlier, while internet use was at 11.7 out of every 100 inhabitants versus 8.3 in 2006. Internet use rose to 8.62 million users, versus 8.29 million in November. The number of ADSL users increased to 427,085 from 394,875 in November and was more than double the figure at the end of 2006.

Source: Wireless Federation.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 8:48:28 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Thursday, January 17, 2008

The launch of Etisalat in Egypt in the second quarter of 2007 was much anticipated, not least because more than eight years of duopoly in Egypt had seen the rate of mobile ownership climb to just one-quarter. At first glance, the addition of a third player appears to have energised the market, with net additions topping 3 million for the first time ever in Q2, and Q3 setting a new record of 3.73 million. The size of the total market stood at 26.99m at the end of September 2007, up from 15.87m a year earlier - a growth rate of 70%.

In addition, both Mobinil and Vodafone posted their highest ever figures for net additions since the launch of Etisalat, Vodafone claiming 1.32 million in Q2 and Mobinil 1.82 million in Q3. Of course, Etisalat itself also contributed to the growth of the market, gaining almost 0.7 million customers in Q3 to reach a total of 1.30 million, compared to 11.97 million for Vodafone and 13.72 million for Mobinil.

Egypt: Proportionate Customer Growth, Q4 04 - Q3 07

Etisalat's arrival has undoubtedly had a positive effect on the Egyptian mobile market, but the above figures may exaggerate the level of its impact somewhat. A glance at the proportionate growth rates yields a less dramatic picture. In each of the two quarters since Etisalat's launch, growth has been at around 16%, a respectable figure but not a particularly impressive one given that penetration was just 25.1% at the end of Q1. Moreover, when Etisalat's contribution is factored out the combined growth rate of the other two operators is around 13% in the first three quarters of 2007, which is roughly the same level as in 2005. Of course, there is a strong possibility that quarterly growth would have remained in the single digit figures recorded in Q1 and Q2 06 had a third player not launched, but this does not alter the impression that neither Mobinil or Vodafone has quite shaken off the ‘comfortable duopoly' mindset.

At the end of Q3, penetration in Egypt stood at just 33.5%. This is by far the lowest rate across the five North African nations, with Morocco in fourth place on 57.9% and Libya the most penetrated on 86.2%.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 12:59:07 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

Morocco's Maroc Telecom has commercially launched a 3G/HSDPA service in the country's main cities the company has announced. The company was originally awarded a 3G license in May 2006, along with competitors, Medi Telecom and Maroc Connect.

The 3G coverage is currently available in the cities of Rabat, Casablanca, Mohammedia, Agadir, Fès, Marrakech, Kenitra, Tetouan, Tanger and Essaouira.

Figures from the Mobile World database reports that Maroc Telecom ended last September with around 12.8 million customers - and a market share of 66%.

Maroc Telecom, a 51% subsidiary of France's Vivendi, with the remainder listed on the Casablanca and Paris stock exchanges. The company also holds 51% of the historic operators in Mauritania (Mauritel), Burkina Faso (Onatel) and Gabon (Gabon Telecom).

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 12:56:37 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 

After a comparatively quiet second quarter, the mobile market in the Middle East and Africa has bounced back with a record number of new customers. Over 32 million net additions were made in the three months to end September, some 2 million more than were connected in the previous best quarter, Q4 2006. As has been the case for most of this year, the bulk of the growth has come from Africa, rather than the Middle East, with Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa producing the strongest gains. The most notable exception to this generality is Iran, where additional competition is spurring growth.

Since the last review of the region, there have been a number of adjustments to the data, most notably in Nigeria where the regulator has supplied new data on the market. The result is that Glo Mobile, the independently owned operator, is now credited with a larger share of the national total and in fact, market leadership. Its Q2 numbers have been revised upwards to just over 15 million, enough to give it fourth place in the region last quarter, ahead of MTN Nigeria. As a result of this, the proportion of the region’s customers connected to the ten market leaders has risen from around 43% to 47%. However, the regulator’s numbers show that there is a growing issue with inactivity in the country: of the 46.2m connections at the end of September, nearly 8m – or 17% - were inactive.

Top 10 MNOs by Customers

The list of the ten largest companies in the region is, once again, unchanged as far as constituents are concerned. However, there are several positional changes. The top two are not affected - Vodacom SA remains the market leader in the region, with 22.5 million active customers, ahead of TCI of Iran – but third and fourth have swapped places and last quarter’s seventh has dropped to ninth this time. Vodacom has undertaken a major cull of inactive connections in the last quarter, severing some 2.9 million from its list. In the light of this, it is no surprise that the registered base has dropped by some 1.3 million (to 23.3m) though of course, the activity rate has improved from 88.6% to almost 96%.

Second placed TCI continues to grow rapidly, encouraged by the arrival of genuine national competition in the shape of MTN Iran. TCI added 1.7 million new connections in the quarter to take its total to 19.5 million. On the face of it, this looks like a good result, but it has to be seen in context: this is in fact TCI’s slowest quarter for a year and MTN Iran bettered its 1.71 million total by the best part of 0.25 million, taking a majority of net additions for the first time. Third place in the region goes to Glo Mobile, which was sixth at the start of the year but has apparently now overtaken MTN Nigeria as the market leader. This move leaves STC, the Saudi number one, down in fourth place, with 15.8 million customers.

MTN subsidiaries take both fifth and sixth place this quarter, as they did last. MTN Nigeria is now the largest single unit within the group, ahead of MTN South Africa. The Nigerian company added nearly one million new connections to end the quarter with 14.99 million subscribers, while the South African company added 0.67 million, to reach a total of 14.1 million. The four remaining companies on the list are all in North Africa. Mobinil, the FT/Orascom joint venture in Egypt, has risen from eighth to seventh after adding 1.8 million new connections, while Maroc Telecom has also moved up one place and now has a total of 12.8 million. This leaves it marginally ahead of Orascom Algeria, which, despite adding over 700k new connections had fallen from seventh to ninth, with 12.7 million customers. The final place on the list goes to Vodafone Egypt, which, although it failed to match the pace set by Mobinil, nonetheless added an impressive 1.2 million new customers to close the quarter with 12.2 million.

Mobile ownership continues to spread across the region. At the end of June there were over 60 networks with more than one million customers; three months later that number has risen to over 70, with many of these being multi-million operations. All of the top 15 operators have more than six million customers and the three of these in 11th, 12th and 13th places overall - Algeria Telecom Mobile, Celtel Nigeria and Safaricom Kenya – have over nine million. At their current growth rates, all three will pass the ten million mark in the current quarter.

Source: Cellular News.

Thursday, January 17, 2008 9:48:37 AM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     | 
 Monday, December 10, 2007

Algérie Télécom is the first African telecoms operator to put together a business strategy that includes Fibre-To-The-Home. Although the price of connecting households to fibre has dropped considerably elsewhere, it still remains an expensive way to provide a local connection. However, the prize it is seeking to create is a large user base for its forthcoming triple play offer. Russell Southwood looks at what it’s up to.

The operator is deploying an FTTH network from French vendor Sagem Communication and on15 December it will be launching a triple play offer with voice, broadband Internet and television. The triple play service will initially be offered in Oran, Alger, Sétif  and Constantine before being rolled nationally in 2008.

According to Malik Hachelef, the Manager overseeing the FTTH roll-out:"The service will consist of a modem that can connect to the fibre network that will give very high capacities allowing either triple or quadruple play."

Algérie Télécom has 500,000 ADSL lines in place and is on its way to 3 million lines by the end of 2009. According to CEO Slimane Kheiredine, a WiMAX service will fill in gaps in the company's service where it does not offer ADSL and allow it to consider new services such as IP-TV. The Algerian national operator is working with foreign partners like BT and Korea Telecom on developing new services and is also planning to launch digital terrestrial TV trials.

 
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Monday, December 10, 2007 4:24:01 PM (W. Europe Standard Time, UTC+01:00)  #     |