Qatar - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Executive summary

Qatar building extensive fibre network deployment

Qatar is considered to be one of the most highly connected markets in the Middle East and offers significant opportunity due to its high numbers of mobile and broadband subscribers combined with wealth due to its large natural gas reserves.

Fixed-line penetration is relatively high, as is mobile. While such levels might suggest that there is little room for new competitors in the fixed-line or mobile markets, the very fluid and rapidly expanding population due to the large number of expatriate workers creates considerable opportunity.

The rapid rise is due to the influx of low income workers to participate in Qatar’s numerous infrastructure building projects, including those for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The rapidly growing population is placing higher demand on infrastructure including hospitals, schools, housing, utilities and transportation. As a result Qatar is beginning to explore smart city concepts and deploy smart solutions led by construction of its Lusail City which is a planned urban development.

Deployment of fibre networks in particular has been a key focus of the Qatar government and in 2015 the leading fixed player, Ooredoo, has over 200,000 of its fixed broadband customers connected to its fibre network. Qatar embarked on its extensive FttH deployment program in 2012 and an independent operating company, Qatar National Broadband Network Company (QNBN) was appointed to operate the network and offer wholesale broadband capacity to both Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar.

Qatar has used its vast wealth to fund ICT initiatives to diversify its economy, with multibillion developments in science and techno centres, R&D facilities, e-transport, green economy and FttH broadband connectivity. Businesses, governments and private citizens have been instrumental in creating the online content and services that make up the Information society. Initial strategies centred on accessibility, encouraging broadband infrastructure deployment and affordability of online access.

Key telecom parameters – 2012; 2015

Sector
2012
2015
Subscribers to telecoms services (million): (e)
Fixed Broadband
0.16
0.21
Fixed-line telephony
0.32
0.42
Mobile phone
2.60
4.40

(Source: BuddeComm based on ITU)

Key developments:

  • In 2014 a new independent communication regulator (CRA) was established in Qatar.
  • In June 2015 the CRA announced Qatar would have mandatory reductions to roaming charges for voice calls, SMS, and mobile data coming into initial effect on the 1st of April 2016.
  • Qatar’s second independent satellite is currently under construction with plans that Es’hail 2 would be launched in late 2016.
  • Qatar’s goal is to have 100% of government services online by 2020 and it is about half way towards this goal.
  • Recognising the inherent opportunities in faster communications for social and economic development, Qatar has embarked on developing a national fibre-based access network, known as QNBN. Qatar is fast becoming recognised as a leader in the fibre deployment in the region.
  • In 2015 Ooredoo announced it had formed a partnership with OTT video streaming service STARZ Play.
  • Qatar has taken steps to develop a knowledge-based society as part of its wider socioeconomic development goals as stated in National Development Strategy document Qatar National Vision 2030. Strategies and specific initiatives have been launched in the areas of e-commerce, e-government, e-health, e-education and smart grids.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Ooredoo Qatar, Vodafone Qatar, Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Recent developments
    • 3.2 Historical overview
    • 3.3 Market analysis
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Historic overview
      • 4.1.1 Telecommunications Law 2006
      • 4.1.2 Telecommunications Executive By-Law 2009
    • 4.2 Regulatory authority
    • 4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Qatar
    • 4.4 Privatisation
    • 4.5 Interconnect
    • 4.6 Access
    • 4.7 Wholesale transmission
  • 5. Fixed network operator
    • 5.1 Ooredoo/ Qatar Telecom (Qtel)
      • 5.1.1 Historical overview
      • 5.1.2 Recent developments
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 6.2 International infrastructure (satellite, submarine)
      • 6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 6.2.2 New developments such as NGN, fibre networks etc
      • 6.2.3 Satellite networks
      • 6.2.4 Specific IT developments (data centres, cloud computing)
  • 7. Smart infrastructure
    • 7.1 M2M/IoT
    • 7.2 Smart grids
    • 7.3 Smart cities
  • 8. Broadband access market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 8.1.1 Market analysis
      • 8.1.2 Broadband statistics
    • 8.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • 8.3 Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and Fibre-to-the-home (FttH)
      • 8.3.1 Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN)
      • 8.3.2 Vodafone Qatar
      • 8.3.3 Ooredoo
    • 8.4 Wireless Broadband
      • 8.4.1 WiFi
  • 9. Digital economy
    • 9.1 Introduction
    • 9.2 e-Commerce
    • 9.3 e-Banking
    • 9.4 e-Government
    • 9.5 e-Health
    • 9.6 e-Education
      • 9.6.1 Knowledge Net (KNET)
  • 10. Digital media
    • 10.1.1 Introduction
      • 10.2 Advertising
      • 10.3 Videostreaming
        • 10.3.1 Introduction
        • 10.3.2 Major players
      • 10.4 Social media
        • 10.4.1 Introduction
      • 10.5 Communications: VoIP
        • 10.5.1 Introduction
      • 10.6 On line gaming and gambling
        • 10.6.1 Introduction
    • 11. Mobile communications
      • 11.1 Market analysis
      • 11.2 Mobile statistics
        • 11.2.1 General statistics
        • 11.2.2 Mobile voice
        • 11.2.3 Mobile data
      • 11.3 Mobile broadband statistics
      • 11.4 Regulatory issues
        • 11.4.1 Second mobile licence
        • 11.4.2 Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO)
        • 11.4.3 Roaming tariff reduction
        • 11.4.4 NP
      • 11.5 Mobile infrastructure
        • 11.5.1 Brief intro analogue networks
        • 11.5.2 Digital networks
      • 11.6 Major mobile operators
        • 11.6.1 Ooredoo Qatar
        • 11.6.2 Vodafone Qatar
      • 11.7 Mobile content and applications
        • 11.7.1 m-commerce
        • 11.7.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
        • 11.7.3 m-TV
        • 11.7.4 m-health
      • 11.8 Mobile handsets
    • 12. Related reports
    • Table 1 – Country statistics – Qatar - 2015
    • Table 2 – Telecom revenue and investment statistics – 2015
    • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2015
    • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2015
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2015
    • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
    • Table 7 – GDP growth and inflation – 2006 - 2015
    • Table 8 – Ooredoo Group revenue and net profit – 2005 – 1H 2015
    • Table 9 – Ooredoo Qatar revenue and net profit – 2005 - 2014
    • Table 10 –Ooredoo Qatar customers and blended ARPU – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2015
    • Table 12 – Internet users and penetration – 1995 - 2015
    • Table 13 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2015
    • Table 14 – Household PC penetration – 2007 - 2015
    • Table 15 – International Internet bandwidth – 2003 - 2014
    • Table 16 - Facebook Stats for Qatar compared to Middle Eastern countries as at July 2015
    • Table 17 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 18 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2015
    • Table 19 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – Q1 2015
    • Table 20 – Mobile operators’ market share – 2009 - 2014
    • Table 21 – Ooredoo and Vodafone – prepaid share – 2000 - 2014
    • Table 22 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2008 - 2015
    • Table 23 – Ooredoo Qatar – financial data (including ARPU) – 2009 - 2014
    • Table 24 – Ooredoo prepaid, postpaid, and mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2014
    • Table 25 – Vodafone Qatar – financial data – 2009 - 2014
    • Table 26 –Vodafone Qatar – subscribers and ARPU – 2009 - 2014
    • Chart 1 – Mobile operators’ market share – 2009 - 2014

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