Syria - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Signs of stabilisation in Syria may benefit the telecoms sector

The civil war in Syria showed signs of stabilising in 2018 and this has raised hopes that infrastructure and economic reconstruction activities may begin. This can only be positive for the telecoms sector which has paid a heavy toll from the years of destruction. Telecommunications in Syria have become decentralized and some of the remote areas rely on expensive satellite communications while the urban areas utilise the highly regulated network supplied by the government-owned Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE). Initiatives have been launched to liberalise the market in the past but without much success.

Syria has a reasonably high mobile penetration and many Syrians own cheap or second hand smart phones. Opportunities may exist for mobile broadband growth in the medium-term and development of Syria’s fixed broadband may gather pace.

Syria’s mobile market is served by a duopoly comprised of two operators, MTN Syria and Syriatel. Prepaid services have been instrumental in encouraging mobile take up by the mass market. While mobile broadband infrastructure population coverage (based predominantly on 3G) is quite high, the number of actual mobile broadband subscriptions is very low – providing potential opportunities for growth once infrastructure and economic reconstruction efforts make headway.

Key developments:

  • While some parts of Syria have been more seriously affected than others, there are reportedly around 13.5 million of Syria’s population who are in need and considered to be displaced - and 4.6 million of these are in besieged or difficult to areas.
  • The years of civil unrest in Syria have taken their toll on Syria’s telecommunications infrastructure and while the capital Damascus has survived reasonably well, it is the outskirts, rural and remote areas which have felt the brunt of the destruction.
  • The international aid network known as the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster has been operating in Syria since 2013 and provides emergency Internet connectivity and telecommunications services.

Companies covered in this report include:

Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE), MTN Syria, Syriatel.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
    • 2.1 Country overview
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Historical overview
    • 3.2 Market analysis
    • 3.3 Market challenges
    • 3.4 Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC)
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Historic overview
    • 4.2 Regulatory authority
    • 4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Syria
    • 4.4 Interconnect
  • 5. Fixed network operators in Syria
    • 5.1 Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE)
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 National telecom network
    • 6.2 International infrastructure
  • 7. Broadband access market
    • 7.1 Market analysis
    • 7.2 Broadband statistics
    • 7.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
  • 8. Digital economy
  • 9. Mobile communications
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
    • 9.3 Mobile voice
      • 9.3.1 Prepaid
    • 9.4 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 9.5 Regulatory issues
      • 9.5.1 Third mobile licence
      • 9.5.2 Current BOT contracts/Long term free hold licenses
    • 9.6 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.6.1 WiMAX
      • 9.6.2 3G
      • 9.6.3 GSM
      • 9.6.4 Satellite mobile
  • 10. Major mobile operators
    • 10.1 Operators
      • 10.1.1 Syriatel
      • 10.1.2 MTN Syria
    • 10.2 Mobile content and applications
      • 10.2.1 m-payments
  • 11. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities - Syria – 2018
  • Table 2 – GDP growth and inflation fluctuations – 2005 – 2018
  • Table 3 – Syria - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2017
  • Table 4 – Syria - percentage of Internet users – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 5 – Syria - fixed broadband subscriptions – 2004 - 2018
  • Table 6 – International Internet bandwidth – 2004 - 2016
  • Table 7 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2018
  • Table 8 – Syria - Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2009 - 2018
  • Table 9 – Syriatel – Revenue – 2008 – 1H 2018
  • Table 10 – MTN Syria Revenue and CAPEX – 2016 – 2017
  • Table 11 – MTN Syria – Subscribers and ARPU – 2009 – Q1 2018

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