Last updated: 24 Jun 2008 Update History
Report Status: Archived
Report Pages: 95
Analyst: Stephen McNamara
Counties covered: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the regulatory structure and fixed-line markets in the Middle East, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:
Current publication date:- July 2007 (6th Edition)
Next publication date:- July 2008
This Middle East market report gives an overview of the telecoms markets of the region. It also details the regulatory developments and fixed-line segments in each of the following countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE and Yemen. The region’s markets include:
From 1 July 2004 all sectors of the Bahraini communications market were liberalised. New entrants into the market are regulated through licensing. The TRA has defined nine operating sectors and is issuing licences in eight of these sectors. Several of the new alternative operators have launched pre-paid VoIP-based calling cards, often as a first step to providing further services. The large impact of calling cards on the market (and on Batelco’s international call revenues) has been particularly driven by the large expat population. For the country overview, see chapter 2, page 4.
Despite the opening of the market to competition, incumbent Bezeq still has the vast majority of the domestic fixed-line voice market, with HOT Telecom and the VoIP operators having only small shares as yet. The international fixed-line voice market is another matter. Since 2004 there have been six competitors but mergers are in process which will leave four competitors in the market: Bezeq International, the Barak - Netvision Group, the Internet Gold - Golden Lines Group and Xfone. Bezeq estimated its market share at around 32% at end-2006, up from 29% at end-2005. Golden Lines estimated its market share at 30% at end-2006. Barak is the other market leader.
The MoC published a policy in early 2007 for regulating and licensing the provision of VoIP. The domestic fixed-line market was officially opened to further competition via VoIP. The international carriers and the mobile operators are expected to begin providing services to compete against Bezeq and HOT. The new policy document confirmed the previous ruling that Bezeq and its subsidiaries will be permitted to provide VoIP services only after Bezeq’s market share in fixed-line domestic telephony in a particular segment (business or private) falls below 85%. For the country overview, see chapter 6, page 26.
Jordan has one of the most open telecommunications markets in the Middle East and an independent regulator. The fixed-line market was liberalised on 1 January 2005 with the market open to full competition. Incumbent operator Jordan Telecom has been fully privatised. Faced with the unavoidable prospect of losing voice market share to alternative operators, Jordan Telecom has increased its focus on broadband services. Alternative operators mostly offer VoIP services and compete in the long-distance voice markets. For the country overview, see chapter 7, page 34.
Recent liberalisation of the Saudi telecoms market has extended to the fixed-line sector. Regulator CITC originally planned to award a second fixed-line licence in 2008 to compete with incumbent STC but this was brought forward to 2007. The final three applicants – Batelco/Atheeb, US consortia MCI International/Verizon and Hong Kong-based PCCW – were all awarded fixed-line licences. Questions have been raised over the potential level of demand for services. Licences to provide data communications services in competition with STC were awarded in 2004 to two Saudi companies. They are making substantial investments in infrastructure, as is STC. For the country overview, see chapter 12, page 51.
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