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Middle East - Mobile Network Operators and MVNOs

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Last updated: 16 Jul 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 235

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Middle East mobile operators face challenges during COVID-19

Mobile operators across the Middle East have faced extraordinary challenges in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting on most facets of mobile services and operations. The operators have had to quickly meet the increased demand for online communication and Internet services, stemming from citizens working and studying remotely, along with supporting service providers offering tele-health and e-education solutions.

In Saudi Arabia, for example, mobile operators have demonstrated a keen sense of social responsibility during the pandemic by launching various initiatives to support society in terms of education, enterprise, and healthcare. Saudi Telecom Company (STC) and Royal Philips (a healthcare solution provider) worked together to develop and implement solutions based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) which allow doctors to treat and diagnose patients remotely.

Many of the operators have observed a change in consumer behaviour during the pandemic, with Du from the United Arab Emirates, for example, experiencing a decline in mobile revenues which was partly attributed to a shift by consumers towards pre-paid mobile phones rather than fixed contracts, in order to manage personal budgets throughout the crisis. Revenues from roaming services have also been impacted upon with less travel and movement by citizens.

Despite the acute disruption to the Telcos usual business operations; a number of the operators have continued to work on their original strategic plans for 2020 and while progress towards 5G may have slowed, it is still a key priority for many of the operators across the Middle East.

This report provides valuable information, analyses and statistics into the mobile operators in markets of the Middle East and includes the countries of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Recent developments:

  • Some operators experienced a decline in roaming revenue due to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The virus outbreak has led to an increased demand for tele-health and e-education services and collaboration with mobile operators to deliver such services.
  • Many mobile operators in the Middle East have formed partnerships in order to develop and progress 5G readiness.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

Mobile Telecommunications Co (MTC) / Zain, Ooredoo Kuwait (previously National Mobile Telecommunication Co (NMT) / Wataniya Telecom), Kuwait Telecom Company (KTC) / Viva, Batelco, Zain Bahrain, Viva Bahrain, Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI), Mobile Communications Iran (MCI), MTN Irancell, Tamin Telecom (Rightel), Mobile Telecommunications Company of Isfahan (MTCE), Telecommunication Kish Company (TKC), Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company (ITPC), Asiacell, Zain Iraq, Korek Telecom, Regional Telecom, Cellcom, Orange (Partner), Pelephone (Bezeq), HOT Mobile, Golan Telecom, Rami Levy, Jordan Telecom Group/Orange, Zain Jordan, Batelco/Umniah, Saudi Telecom Company (STC)/Bravo, Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)/Bayn Consortium, GO Telecom/Etihad Atheeb, Mobily/Ettihad Etisalat/Bayanat Al-Oula, Zain KSA, Lebara KSA/Etihad Jawraa, Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (Virgin Mobile MEA), Axiom Telecom, VIVA, Etisalat, du, Jordan Telecom Group/Orange, Zain Jordan, Batelco/Umniah, MTC Touch, Alfa Telecom, Ooredoo Qatar, Vodafone Qatar, OmanTel, Ooredoo Oman, FRiENDi, Majan Telecom (Renna), Samatel, Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE), MTN Syria, Syriatel, Turkcell, Vodafone Turkey, Avea.

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