Syria - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive Summary

Maintaining basic telecommunications services has become a priority for war-torn Syria

The civil war which has been underway in Syria for many years has left a trail of destruction and despair. The serious humanitarian issues have gained the international attention of the global community and efforts are underway to alleviate some of the more urgent needs, such as food shortages and medical attention.

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 volatile environment in Syria has led some of the telecom operators, such as MTN Syria, to restrict operations to the safer coastal areas and capital city, Damascus.

Telecommunications in Syria have become decentralized and there is reportedly damage to infrastructure and equipment. The international aid network known as the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster has been operating in Syria since 2013 and currently has 13 sites in and around Syria which provide emergency Internet connectivity and telecommunications services.

It is hoped that once the civil unrest is resolved or subsides in Syria; opportunities for telecoms growth will again arise. 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 once the country stabilises.

Please note: due to the civil unrest in Syria, obtaining information and statistics on this market can be difficult at times and the level of destruction to telecoms infrastructure is largely unknown.

Table 1 – Key telecom parameters – 2013; 2016

Sector 2013 2016
Subscribers to telecoms services (million): (e)
Fixed Broadband users 0.34 0.71
Fixed-line telephony 4.42 3.5
Mobile phone 12.29 15.6

Key developments:

  • 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.
  • With 3G/HSDPA networks in place, the focus for mobile data has firmly shifted to mobile broadband offerings.
  • In early 2017 reports were surfacing that a third mobile operator would enter the Syrian market.
  • MTN Syria has experienced recent plateau in subscriber growth due to the challenging environment.
  • Syriatel reported net revenue growth for FY 2016.

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
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
  • 8. Broadband access market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 8.1.1 Market analysis
      • 8.1.2 Broadband statistics
      • 8.1.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
  • 9. Digital economy
    • 9.1 Introduction
    • 9.2 e-Government
    • 9.3 e-Health
    • 9.4 e-Education
    • 9.5 Social media
    • 9.6 Broadcasting
  • 10. Mobile communications
    • 10.1 Market analysis
    • 10.2 Mobile statistics
    • 10.3 Mobile voice
      • 10.3.1 Prepaid
    • 10.4 Mobile data
      • 10.4.1 SMS and MMS
    • 10.5 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 10.6 Regulatory issues
      • 10.6.1 Third mobile licence
      • 10.6.2 Current BOT contracts/Long term free hold licenses
    • 10.7 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.7.1 GSM, 3G
      • 10.7.2 Satellite mobile
  • 11. Major mobile operators
    • 11.1 Operators
      • 11.1.1 Syriatel
      • 11.1.2 MTN Syria
    • 11.2 Mobile content and applications
      • 11.2.1 m-banking (payments/loans)
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Key telecom parameters – 2013; 2016
  • Table 2 – Country statistics – Syria - 2017
  • Table 3 – Telephone network statistics – 2016
  • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – Syria - 2015
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – Syria - 2016
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 7 – GDP growth and inflation – 2005 – 2017
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2016
  • Table 9 – Percentage of Internet users – 2010 - 2015
  • Table 10 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2015
  • Table 11 – International Internet bandwidth – 2004 - 2015
  • Table 12 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2016
  • Table 13 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2009 - 2015
  • Table 14 – Syriatel – Revenue – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 15 – MTN Syria Revenue and CAPEX – 2009 – mid 2016
  • Table 16 – MTN Syria – Subscribers – 2009 - 2016

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