2007 Middle Eastern - Telecoms Statistics and Market Overview

Publication Overview

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:

  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • The increasing market liberalisation and the privatisation of incumbent operators;
  • The regulatory status and use of VoIP;
  • Developments and investment in fixed-line infrastructure.

Researchers: Tine Lewis, Paul Kwon and Peter Lange

Current publication date:- July 2007 (6th Edition)

Next publication date:- July 2008


Executive Summary

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.

Saudi Arabia

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.


Table of Contents

1.1Market overview
1.2Telecommunications infrastructure
1.2.1National networks
1.2.2New developments
1.2.3International submarine cable networks
2.1Overview of Bahrain’s telecom market
2.2Fixed network operators in Bahrain
2.2.1Bahrain telecommunications company (Batelco)
2.2.2Alternative operators
2.3Telecommunications infrastructure
2.3.1National telecom network
2.3.2International infrastructure
3.1Overview of Egypt’s telecom market
3.2Fixed network operators in Egypt
3.2.1Telecom Egypt
3.2.2Orascom Telecom
3.3Telecommunications infrastructure
3.3.1National telecom network
3.3.2International infrastructure
3.3.3Fixed voice market
3.4Data market
3.4.1Data service operators
3.4.2VSAT networks
3.4.3Data centres
4.1Overview of Iran’s telecom market
4.2Fixed network operator in Iran
4.2.1Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI)
4.3Telecommunications infrastructure
4.3.1National telecom network
4.3.2International infrastructure
5.1Overview of Iraq’s telecom market
5.2Fixed network operator in Iraq
5.2.1Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company (ITPC)
5.3Telecommunications infrastructure
5.3.1National telephone network
5.3.2International infrastructure
6.1Overview of Israel’s telecom market
6.1.1Analysis 2007
6.2Fixed network operators in Israel
6.2.1Overview of operators
6.2.3HOT Telecom
6.2.4Bezeq International
6.2.5Internet Gold – Golden Lines / Smile Communications
6.2.6Barak – Netvision
6.2.7Xfone 018
6.3Telecommunications infrastructure
6.3.1National telecom network
6.3.2International infrastructure
6.3.3Infrastructure developments
7.1Overview of Jordan’s telecom market
7.2Fixed network operators in Jordan
7.2.1Jordan Telecom
7.3Telecommunications infrastructure
7.3.1National telecom network
7.3.2International infrastructure
7.4.2Jordan Telecom
8.1Overview of Kuwait’s telecom market
8.2Fixed network operator in Kuwait
8.2.1Ministry of Communications
8.3Telecommunications infrastructure
8.3.1National telecom network
8.3.2International infrastructure
8.3.3Infrastructure developments
9.1Overview of Lebanon’s telecom market
9.1.2Saudi Oger / Oger Telecom
9.2Fixed network operator in Lebanon
9.2.1Ogero Telecom
9.3Telecommunications infrastructure
9.3.1National telecom network
9.3.2International infrastructure
10.1Overview of Oman’s telecom market
10.2Fixed network operator in Oman
10.2.1Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel)
10.3Telecommunications infrastructure
10.3.1National telecom network
10.3.2International infrastructure
11.1Overview of Qatar’s telecom market
11.2Fixed network operator in Qatar
11.3Telecommunications infrastructure
11.3.1National telecom network
11.3.2International infrastructure
12.1Overview of Saudi Arabia’s telecom market
12.2Fixed network operators in Saudi Arabia
12.2.1Saudi Telecom Company (STC)
12.2.3Bayanat Al-Oula
12.2.4Saudi Oger
12.3Telecommunications infrastructure
12.3.1National telecom network
12.3.2International infrastructure
13.1Overview of Syria’s telecom market
13.2Fixed network operator in Syria
13.2.1Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE)
13.3Telecommunications infrastructure
13.3.1National telecom network
13.3.2International infrastructure
14.1Overview of Turkey’s telecom market
14.2Fixed network operators in Turkey
14.2.1Turk Telekom
14.3Telecommunications infrastructure
14.3.1National telecom network
14.3.2International infrastructure
15.1Overview of UAE’s telecom market
15.1.1Market analysis – 2007
15.2Telecom operators in UAE
15.2.1Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)
15.2.2Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company / du
15.2.3TECOM Investments / Dubai Holding
15.2.4Mubadala Development Company
15.2.5UAE investment companies owning telcos outside the UAE
15.3Telecommunications infrastructure
15.3.1National telecom networks
15.3.2Infrastructure developments
15.3.3International infrastructure
16.1Overview of Yemen’s telecom market
16.2Fixed network operators in Yemen
16.2.1TeleYemen / Yemen International Telecommunication Company
16.2.2Public Telecommunications Corporation (PTC)
16.3Telecommunications infrastructure
16.3.1National telecom network
16.3.2International infrastructure
Exhibit 1 – National and regional fibre networks in Egypt
Exhibit 2 – Data service provider licences in Egypt with year of issue

Table 1 – Middle East economic statistics – 2006
Table 2 – Fixed-line teledensity by country – 2001; 2007
Table 3 – Telephone network statistics Bahrain – October 2006
Table 4 – Batelco revenue, profit and group mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2006
Table 5 – Batelco revenue by division - 2005 - 2006
Table 6 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Bahrain - 1995 - 2006
Table 7 – Telephone network statistics Egypt – March 2007
Table 8 – Telecom Egypt key performance indicators – 2003 - 2006
Table 9 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Egypt – 1995 - 2007
Table 10 – Public payphones per operator in Egypt – 2002 - 2007
Table 11 – Telephone network statistics Iran – February 2007
Table 12 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Iran – 1995 - 2007
Table 13 – Telephone network statistics Iraq – 2006
Table 14 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Iraq - 1990 - 2006
Table 15 – Telephone network statistics Israel – 2006
Table 16 – Bezeq divisional revenues – 2005 - 2006
Table 17 – Active Bezeq subscriber lines, MoU and monthly ARPL – 2003 - 2006
Table 18 – HOT Telecom voice subscribers – 2005 - 2006
Table 19 – Fixed-lines in service and teledensity in Israel – 1995 - 2006
Table 20 – Telephone network statistics Jordan – 2005
Table 21 – Jordan Telecom revenue and profit – 2004 - 2006
Table 22 – Jordan Telecom divisional subscribers – 2005 - 2007
Table 23 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Jordan – 1995 - 2005
Table 24 – Telephone network statistics Kuwait – 2006
Table 25 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Kuwait - 1995 - 2006
Table 26 – Telephone network statistics Lebanon – 2006
Table 27 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Lebanon - 1996 - 2006
Table 28 – Telephone network statistics Oman – March 2007
Table 29 – Omantel revenue, expenditure and fixed-line ARPU – 2003 - 2006
Table 30 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Oman - 1995 - 2007
Table 31 – Telephone network statistics Qatar – 2006
Table 32 – Qtel revenue and net profit – 2005 - 2006
Table 33 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Qatar - 1995 - 2006
Table 34 – Fixed-line household penetration in Qatar - 2001 - 2006
Table 35 – Telephone network statistics o Saudi Arabia – 2006
Table 36 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Saudi Arabia - 1994 - 2006
Table 37 – Telephone network statistics Syria – 2006
Table 38 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Syria – 1995 - 2006
Table 39 – Telecoms revenue by service type in Turkey – 2000 - 2005
Table 40 – Telecoms investment by service type in Turkey – 2000 - 2005
Table 41 – Telephone network statistics Turkey – 2005
Table 42 – Turk Telekom tariffs relative to 2002 levels – 2003 - 2006
Table 43 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Turkey – 1995 - 2005
Table 44 – Telephone network statistics UAE – 2006
Table 45 – Etisalat revenues and divisional representation - 2005 - 2006
Table 46 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in UAE - 1995 - 2006
Table 47 – Telephone network statistics Yemen – 2006
Table 48 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Yemen - 1995 - 2006

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Telecoms Infrastructure

Number of pages 95

Status Archived

Last updated 24 Jun 2008
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Analyst: Stephen McNamara

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Paul, Many thanks for your inputs yesterday. You provided a compelling different perspective to our traditional infrastructure focus and this is valuable for our future planning. I also had very favourable feedback from our participants on your involvement.

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