2008 Middle East - Telecoms Mobile & Broadband in The Mediterranean & Levant countries

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Last updated: 17 Jun 2008 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 180

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband. The countries covered are: Egypt Israel Jordan Lebanon Syria Turkey.  

Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure;
  • Major Players, Revenues, Subscribers, ARPU;
  • Internet, VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Broadband (DSL, cable TV, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media.

Researchers: Tine Lewis, Paul Kwon, Peter Lange

Current publication date:- June 2008 (7th Edition)

Next publication date:- June 2009


Executive Summary

BuddeComm’s Middle East Annual Publication, ‘2008 Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in the Mediterranean and Levant countries of the Middle East’, profiles a fascinating region of contrasts and opportunities. Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Turkey have all benefited greatly from comparatively well developed regulatory systems and competitive markets resulting in strong investment in telecommunications. Syria remains steadfastly against liberalisation and competition and consequently has an undeveloped market. Lebanon is poised to choose which course it will take.

In Israel regulatory policies have produced intense competition with several very strong players and a very advanced and highly developed market where telecommunications and media are converging in a digital environment. Household broadband penetration is around 70%, mobile penetration is well over 100% and 3G penetration around 30%. These figures, together with Israel’s flourishing IT and venture capital sectors, indicate fertile ground for digital media developments.

Turkey has a unique position in the region with its links to the European Union. It has a healthy mobile market and growing broadband penetration.

Egypt and Jordan are not rich countries but sensible policies have resulted in relatively open and developed markets. Egypt has emerged as the largest Arab Internet market thanks to the successful implementation of a free Internet strategy. Jordan has mobile penetration of over 80%, probably inflated by non-Jordanian nationals and multi-SIM usage, but still indicative of a highly developed market.

Lebanon is a battle ground between groups that would stifle development in the manner of Syria and those that seek to liberalise the market and bring the benefits of mobile and broadband services to a larger proportion of the population.

While fixed-line, Internet and broadband penetration rates are low in the Arab countries of the region, one must always take into consideration larger household sizes, young populations and a habit of sharing broadband and cable TV subscription amongst neighbours.

Key highlights:

  • Number portability and new licences have shaken up the Israeli fixed-line market, with incumbent Bezeq’s share of the market falling to levels around 85% by mid-2008. The report of an advisory commission has recommended key regulatory changes, including creating a wholesale market in all sectors, unbundling local lines and licensing MVNOs.
  • The advisory commission has also advocated giving independent content providers a real chance to operate on broadcasting infrastructure. Israel has widespread DBS and cable multi-channel TV and IPTV is also operational.
  • Jordan’s thriving mobile market is likely to get even more competitive with the granting of its first MVNO operator licence in mid-2008.
  • A second Egyptian fixed-line licence is planned for 2008, together with the expansion of broadband services and wireless networks.
  • The licensing and launch of a third network gave Egypt’s mobile market a significant boost to reach 43% penetration by March 2008, up from only 27% in early 2007.
  • Following the resolution of its political stalemate in mid-2008, the Lebanese government will decide whether to privatise and liberalise its fixed line and mobile operators. A string of potential buyers is ready to enliven the market and release its untapped potential. An independent regulator has made an impressive start.
  • Turkey’s communications market holds much potential given the size of its population, its growing economy and the alignment of its regulatory framework with that of the European Union.

Mobile penetration and annual growth in the Mediterranean and Levant countries of the Middle East – 2008



Annual Growth



















(Source: BuddeComm)

For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on this region, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry in all countries, including proposed policy changes to further liberalise the Israeli market, the tender process for Egypt’s second fixed-line licence and the proposals for the liberalisation of the Lebanese market;
  • Telecoms operators – acquisitions, competition and new market entrants – France Telecom, Vodafone and the UAE’s Etisalat compete with incumbents and many strong local companies;
  • Internet and broadband development and government policies accelerating or impeding the potential for growth;
  • The fast growing mobile markets of the region, still with much potential in high population Egypt and the repressed market of Lebanon;
  • Mobile application and content development potential in Israel’s sizeable 3G market.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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