Kuwait - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Government support is integral to Kuwait’s telecom industry progress

Developments over the past year or so in Kuwait has demonstrated how a supportive government can pave the way for telecoms progress. The Kuwait government is making great headway in implementing changes which will improve the overall telecoms industry. One example includes the recent establishment of an independent telecoms regulator (CITRA) and the current project underway by the Ministry of Communications (MoC) which is expanding Kuwait’s fibre broadband infrastructure.

Kuwait has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world and while this has led to market saturation; the operators are combating this by building extensive LTE networks and developing mobile broadband content and services. The existence of this substantial mobile infrastructure also places Kuwait in good stead to take advantage of opportunities offered by the evolution to 5G.

While Kuwait’s fixed broadband penetration is currently one of the lowest in the region – this sector offers a potential future growth opportunity for both the operators and government. Improvements to the fixed broadband infrastructure will assist to grow markets such as e-commerce, along with smart infrastructure development, start-ups and M2M.

Overall the telecoms sector has become increasingly important to Kuwait’s economy as the country looks to diversify from its reliance on oil. While it already offers a mature mobile sector – opportunities exist to improve its lagging fixed broadband infrastructure as well as capitalise on growing the mobile broadband services and content sector.

This BuddeComm report analyses Kuwait’s extensive telecoms market and provides key industry statistics as well as information and insights relating to fixed and mobile infrastructure, subscribers, smart infrastructure, regulations and major players.

Key developments:

  • The three major operators of Zain Kuwait, VIVA and Ooredoo are all offering LTE services as well as exploring 5G opportunities.
  • Zain Kuwait launched initial integrated 5G services to selected areas in 2018.
  • There is a high ownership of smart phones in Kuwait.
  • Improvements to fibre-broadband infrastructure are underway in 2018.

Companies covered in this report include:

Mobile Telecommunications Co (MTC) / Zain, Ooredoo Kuwait, Kuwait Telecom Company (KTC) / Viva.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Overview
    • 4.2 Market analysis
    • 4.3 Recent developments
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Historic overview
    • 5.2 Regulatory authority
    • 5.3 Privatisation
    • 5.4 Infrastructure sharing
    • 5.5 Interconnect
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Ministry of Communications
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 Fibre networks
    • 7.3 International infrastructure (satellite, submarine)
      • 7.3.1 Submarine cable networks
      • 7.3.2 Satellite communication
    • 7.4 Smart infrastructure
      • 7.4.1 IoT
      • 7.4.2 Smart grids
  • 8. Fixed broadband Market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 8.1.1 Market analysis
      • 8.1.2 Broadband statistics
  • 9. Digital economy (Examples only)
    • 9.1 e-Commerce
    • 9.2 Start-ups
    • 9.3 e-Banking/e-Payments
    • 9.4 e-Health
  • 10. 8. Digital Media (Examples only)
    • 10.1 Video-streaming
    • 10.2 Music-streaming
    • 10.3 VoIP
  • 11. Mobile Market
    • 11.1 Market analysis
    • 11.2 Mobile statistics
      • 11.2.1 General statistics
      • 11.2.2 Mobile broadband
      • 11.2.3 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
    • 11.3 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.3.1 5G
      • 11.3.2 4G (LTE)
      • 11.3.3 GSM, 3G
      • 11.3.4 Other infrastructure developments
      • 11.3.5 Mobile voice/VoLTE
    • 11.4 Mobile regulatory issues
      • 11.4.1 Third mobile operator
      • 11.4.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 11.4.3 Roaming tariff reduction
      • 11.4.4 Spectrum refarming for LTE
      • 11.4.5 Mobile tower management
    • 11.5 Major mobile operators
      • 11.5.1 Zain Kuwait
      • 11.5.2 Ooredoo Kuwait
      • 11.5.3 Viva
    • 11.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 11.6.1 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 11.6.2 OTT messaging services
    • 11.7 Mobile handsets
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – Kuwait – 2018
  • Table 2 – Kuwait – GDP and inflation – 2012 - 2019
  • Table 3 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2018
  • Table 4 – Kuwait - Internet users and penetration – 1995 - 2018
  • Table 5 – Kuwait - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2006 - 2018
  • Table 6 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
  • Table 7 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2018
  • Table 8 – Mobile operators’ market share – 2005 – 2017
  • Table 9 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2017
  • Table 10 - Kuwait - active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2015 – 2018
  • Table 11 – Mobile subscribers – 2019; 2021; 2023
  • Table 12 – Examples of countries leading regional 5G developments
  • Table 13 - Zain Group subscribers and revenue – 2005 – Q1 2018
  • Table 14 – Zain Kuwait revenue, net profit, ARPU and subscribers – 2005 – Q1 2018
  • Table 15 – Zain – prepaid share – 2005 – Q1 2018
  • Table 16 – Ooredoo Kuwait financial data and subscribers – 2016; Q1 2018
  • Table 17 - Viva revenue, net profit, EBITDA, and subscribers – 2012 – Q1 2018
  • Chart 1 – Kuwait’s major mobile operators – market share - 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – Kuwait Projects Company (KIPCO)

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In 2009 Paul contacted me and we engaged in the brainstorming sessions that led to the development of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

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