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Oman - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 8 Sep 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 104

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Increased infrastructure-sharing of mobile towers in Oman

The anticipated launch of a third mobile network operator in the Sultanate of Oman will increase competition in the mobile sector. The current operators Omantel and Ooredoo have a similar and sizeable market share. The telecom regulator in September 2019 approved the partnership between Vodafone Group and Oman Future Telecommunications to develop a mobile service using the Vodafone brand. In August 2020 the Ministry of Transport and Communications suggested that the third MNO could be licensed in early 2021.

In early 2020 the consortium agreed to lease mobile towers from Oman Tower Company (OTC), and this will allow them to enter the mobile market more quickly. OTC plans to build more mobile towers in Oman throughout 2020 and make these available for infrastructure sharing.

BuddeComm observes that Oman has established a progressive mobile sector which comprises substantial coverage of both 3G and 4G LTE networks. There have also been trials conducted, networks upgraded, and spectrum allocated, in readiness for 5G. The Regulator has allowed the major mobile operators, Omantel and Ooredoo the right to use a 100MHz 5G spectrum.

While Oman’s fixed broadband infrastructure penetration is considered low, it is being improved upon with the building of fibre-based networks as part of Oman’s National Broadband Strategy. By 2040 it is hoped that all homes and businesses will be connected to the national broadband infrastructure.

Oman has established itself as an important communications hub in the Middle East with access to numerous submarine cables including the recently announced 2Africa submarine cable, which should become available during 2023-2024.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • MVNOs gaining a small market share;
  • USO enters third stage to upgrade mobile infrastructure to LTE;
  • Ericsson secures 5G network deal with Omantel, Ooredoo selects Huawei;
  • Omantel launches trial 5G network;
  • Fixed broadband subscriber base increases 12.1% in 2019;
  • Two existing MNOs awarded 15-year licenses;
  • Report update includes Telecom Maturity Index analyses and charts, an assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel); Oman Mobile; Ooredoo Oman; Oman Broadband Company (OBC); FRiENDi, Majan Telecom (Renna); Integrated Telecommunications Oman (TeO); Awasr-Oman; Oman Future Telecommunications (OFT) consortium, Vodafone Group, Oman Tower Company (OTC).

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