MENA Mobile Virtual Network Operator Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

MENA Mobile Virtual Network Operator Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2022 - 2027)

The MENA mobile virtual network operator market was valued at USD 1.63 billion in 2020, and it is expected to reach USD 2.22 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 5.3% during 2021-2026. Increasing penetration of mobile devices and technological advancements, such as cloud-based services and government initiative to deliver better network service access for consumers, are driving the growth of the MENA mobile virtual network operator market.

Key Highlights
  • Mobile virtual network operators are entering the developing economics due to low competitors, increasing government initiatives, and the rising adoption rate of cloud services by business organizations. For instance, in January 2020, Saudi Arabia’s Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC) announced plans to allow new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) to enter the market. The licensing of new MVNOs will enhance the business environment and promote competition in the market that will foster the adoption of international best practices across the industry.
  • Moreover, the number of telecommunications subscribers is increasing in Middle East &North African countries that will drive the market. According to the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, mobile, fixed-line, and data services in the United Arab Emirates amounted to around 23.67 million in December 2019, increased by 120,000 from the preceding month. Mobile phone subscribers increased to around 18.278 million in December from 18.178 million in the previous month, which equals to 203.3 - 204.3 lines per 100 inhabitants last year.
  • However, there are unique challenges relating to civil unrest that can hinder the growth of the market. For instance, operators in countries like Yemen and Syria face more challenging issues relating to infrastructure destruction, security concerns, economic pressure, and humanitarian crises.
Key Market TrendsDeployment of 5G Technologies is Expected to Drive the Market
  • According to the Ericsson mobility report, the first 5G subscriptions in Middle East & North Africa are expected during the period (2020 - 2022) and will reach around 17 million subscriptions by 2023. Further, the region will witness a nearly five-fold increase in LTE subscriptions, from 190 million to 860 million in the same timeframe.
  • Increased 5G penetration will also fuel the Internet of Things that will facilitate the digital transformation of industries and provide mobile operators in the region with opportunities to explore new revenue streams. For instance, smart agriculture initiatives in Turkey and Africa, remote monitoring of oil wells and temporary networks in case of disasters in Saudi Arabia, and Narrowband-IoT (NB-IoT) being used to address utilities and smart meters in South Africa. So, technologies like 5G and IoT will serve the region’s diverse operator needs by opening new revenue streams as a result of industry digitization, improving standards of livings in countries across MENA.
  • Due to an abundance opportunity in the enterprise sector, most of the International service providers are planning to launch their services to maximize their profit. For instance, Sparkle, an Italian service provider, has announced opening a new Point of Presence (PoP) in Morocco. It will be located in Orange Maroc open data center and will provide corporate communication services to multinational enterprises aiming to expand their business in Morocco. It will also offer ethernet and virtual private IP-VPN networks to Italian and European multinationals to enable intracompany communication and connect their headquarters with their branches in Morocco.
  • COVID-19 outbreak will accelerate the demand for agile and flexible work styles and further push the adoption of communication services that tend to enhance work-life balance. However, telecom regulators have postponed their plans of 5G spectrum auction amidst the global pandemic.
Emerging Technologies is Expected to Drive the Market
  • Digital transformation across the world is expected to increase the adoption of mainly the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) in Middle Eastern and North African countries. Hence, it is expected that MVNOs will try to explore opportunities of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), machine-to-machine (M2M), blockchain, 5G, and Artificial Intelligence.
  • According to the report, Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will grow 15.9% year on year in 2019 and reach USD 17.63 billion by 2023 as governments and businesses ramp up their investments in digital transformation project such as the smart city. Public and private sectors are also focusing on improving their provision of customer services, improving the quality of products and services that accelerate their time to market, reduce costs and increase their profitability that will encourage them to will utilize the emerging technologies and is expected to boost the market growth.
  • Moreover, 75% of consumer IoT spending will be driven by investments around smart home technologies, remote health monitoring, and connected vehicles. In the transportation sector, fleet management and freight monitoring solutions together will account for approximately 80% of IoT spending in 2019. Governments plan to utilize smart grids for electricity, which will fuel the IoT spending in the utilities.
  • The ongoing national transformation programs and digital transformation projects will continue to fuel IoT adoption in the forecast period, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and is expected to contribute a combined USD 2.13 billion of the MEA region's total IoT spending of USD 8.47 billion in 2019. It will provide ample opportunity to the MVNOs to expand their services and fuel the digital transformation across the countries.
Competitive Landscape

The MENA mobile virtual network operator market is concentrated, and it is dominated by a few major players like Virgin Mobile KSA, Lebara Mobile KSA, Swyp (Etisalat UAE), Majan Telecommunication LLC (Renna Mobile), and FRiENDi mobile. These major players, with a prominent share in the market, are focusing on expanding their customer base across foreign countries. These companies are leveraging strategic collaborative initiatives to increase their market share and increase their profitability. However, with technological advancements and product innovations, mid-size to smaller companies are increasing their market presence by securing new contracts and by tapping new markets.

  • May 2020 - China Mobile International, MTN GlobalConnect, Orange, Vodafone, and Facebook had announced their collaboration plan to build a subsea cable to serve the African continent and the Middle East region where nearly a billion people are still not connected to the internet. Under this joint collaboration named 2Africa, the company will lay cables that will stretch to 37,000km (22,990 miles) and interconnect Europe (eastward via Egypt), the Middle East (via Saudi Arabia), and 21 landings in 16 countries in Africa.
  • May 2020 - Azercosmos, a major satellite operator in the South Caucasus, has signed a partnership agreement with The Angle, a company that provides satellite network services in the Middle East. The partnership will provide secure and highly reliable communication services, such as the internet, network, voice, video, mobile, and other data services in the Middle East and Europe.
Additional Benefits:
  • The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format
  • 3 months of analyst support
Companies Mentioned
Lebara Mobile KSA
Virgin Mobile KSA
Swyp (Etisalat UAE)
Majan Telecommunication LLC (Renna Mobile)
FRiENDi mobile
Integrated Telecommunications Oman (TeO)
Amin Smart Mobile Communications

Please note: This publisher does offer titles that are created upon receipt of order. If you are purchasing a PDF Email Delivery option above, the report will take approximately 2 business days to prepare and deliver.

1.1 Study Assumptions​ and Market Definition​
1.2 Scope of the Study
4.1 Market Overview
4.2 Porter's Five Forces Analysis
4.2.1 Threat of New Entrants
4.2.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers
4.2.3 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
4.2.4 Threat of Substitute Products
4.2.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry
4.3 Industry Value Chain Analysis
4.4 Impact of COVID-19 on the MVNO Market
6.1 Market Drivers​
6.1.1 Government Strategy to Enhance Business Environment, and Foster the Adoption of International Best Practices Across Industry
6.1.2 Significant Growth Opportunities for Mobile Subscriptions in Largely Populated Countries
6.2 Market Challenges
6.2.1 Issue Regarding Infrastructure Destruction, Humanitarian Crises, and Security Concerns in Middle East Countries
7.1 Number of Mobile Cellular Subscriptions (in million)
7.2 Number of Mobile Cellular Subscriptions per 100 inhabitants
7.3 Total Mobile Revenue and ARPU
7.4 Market Share of Mobile Network Operators(MNOs)
7.5 Market Share of Mobile Operating Systems
7.6 Market Share of Mobile Device Vendors
8.1 By Subscriber
8.1.1 Business
8.1.2 Consumer
8.2 By Country
8.2.1 United Arab Emirates
8.2.2 Saudi Arabia
8.2.3 Oman
8.2.4 Iran
8.2.5 Rest of Middle East & North Africa
9.1 Vendor Market Share
9.2 Mergers and Acquisitions
9.3 Company Profiles
9.3.1 Lebara Mobile KSA
9.3.2 Virgin Mobile KSA
9.3.3 Swyp (Etisalat UAE)
9.3.4 Majan Telecommunication LLC (Renna Mobile)
9.3.5 FRiENDi mobile
9.3.6 Integrated Telecommunications Oman (TeO)
9.3.7 Awasr-Oman
9.3.8 Amin Smart Mobile Communications
9.3.9 AzarTel

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook
Cookie Settings