Kuwait - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Kuwait - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Kuwait represents a bright spot for telecoms in the Middle East

Kuwait has one of the highest mobile penetrations in the Middle East and represents a bright spot amongst a region marred by civil tension. The mobile operators in Kuwait are forging ahead and developing both infrastructure and services, with the three major operators of Zain Kuwait, VIVA and Ooredoo all offering LTE services and now also deploying or exploring LTE-A services.

While mobile is booming in Kuwait; the same cannot be said for broadband and fibre deployment. Fixed broadband penetration is low, blamed on underinvestment in infrastructure and the lack of a national broadband policy. The absence of an independent regulator in particular is thought to have been an inhibitor to attracting fixed broadband investment in Kuwait. However this is expected to change with parliament approving plans towards a regulator in 2015 and the actual launch of the new Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) taking place in Febraury 2016.

Kuwait's digital economy will take a boost when fibre infrastructure investment and deployment are improved which will supply the appropriate infrastructure required to full develop a robust digital services sector. In the mean time however, Kuwait is pressing forward and offers a number of e-services. In addition Kuwait is attracting a number of start-ups on the back of the government attempt to diversify its economy beyond oil. It is hoped that the government will fund start-ups initiatives and encourage start-up incubators.

Interest in Machine-to-Machine (M2M) networks and the broader concept of the Internet of Everything (IoT) is beginning to emerge in Kuwait. One example includes the 2015 deal between Zain Kuwait and the Vodafone Group which sees their existing partnership extended to include M2M. While Zain already offers basic M2M services, the new deal will allow Zain to offer enhanced end-to-end M2M solutions.

Overall Kuwait offers a dynamic telecoms sector with a strong bias towards mobile infrastructure and services. The country offers opportunities due to its high penetration of mobile and emerging mobile content and services sector.

Key telecom parameters 2012; 2015
Sector | 2012 | 2015
Subscribers to telecoms services (million): (e)
Fixed Broadband | 0.47 | 0.57
Fixed-line telephony | 0.48 | 0.51
Mobile phone | 5.10 | 8.30
(Source: BuddeComm based on ITU)

Key developments:

In February 2016 Saudi Arabia's STC gained the majority ownership of VIVA.

In mid 2015 VIVA announced it was the first operator in Kuwait to launched Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) technology which would allow customers to use LTE networks for making calls including High Definition video calls.

KIPCO, an influential investment firm based in Kuwait, sees great potential for regional Pay TV operator OSN. KIPCO has majority co-ownership of OSN and it has recently demonstrated rising profits and further room for subscriber growth.

The setting up of the first IBM office in Kuwait in 2015 indicates the positive international interest in Kuwait's ICT market. IBM plans to assist in fostering a knowledge-based economy in Kuwait along with the implementation of green technology projects.Ooredoo has identified Kuwait as one the markets it wants to further develop and offer mobile financial services too.

Companies covered in this report include:

Ministry of Communications, Qualitynet, Orbit Showtime Network (OSN), KIPCO, Mobile Telecommunications Co (MTC) / Zain, Ooredoo Kuwait (previously National Mobile Telecommunication Co (NMT) / Wataniya Telecom), Kuwait Telecom Company (KTC) / Viva.

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Recent developments
3.1.1 New regulator for Kuwait seen as a positive step
3.2 Historical overview
3.2.1 KIPCO
3.3 Market analysis
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Historic overview
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.3 Privatisation
5. Fixed network operators
5.1 Ministry of Communications
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.2 Fibre networks
6.3 International infrastructure
6.3.1 Submarine cable networks
6.3.2 Satellite communication
7. Broadband access market
8. Introduction and statistical overview
8.1 Market analysis
8.2 Broadband statistics
8.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
8.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
8.5 Other fixed broadband services
8.5.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
9. Digital economy
9.1 e-Commerce
9.1.1 Start-ups
9.2 e-Banking
9.3 e-Government
9.4 e-Health
9.5 e-Education
10. Digital media
10.1 Digital Advertising in the Middle East
10.2 Videostreaming
10.3 Social media
10.4 VoIP
10.5 Music
10.6 On line gaming and gambling
11. Mobile communications
11.1 Market analysis
11.1.1 Mobile statistics
11.2 Mobile voice services
11.2.1 Prepaid
11.2.2 Satellite mobile
11.3 Mobile broadband statistics
11.4 Regulatory issues
11.4.1 Third mobile operator
11.4.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
11.4.3 Roaming tariff reduction
11.4.4 Spectrum refarming for LTE
12. Mobile infrastructure
12.1 Analogue networks
12.2 Digital networks
12.2.1 GSM, 3G
12.2.2 LTE, LTE-A
12.3 Other infrastructure developments
12.3.1 VoLTE
12.4 IoT and M2M networks
13. Major mobile operators
13.1 Zain Kuwait
13.1.1 International expansion
13.2 Ooredoo Kuwait
13.3 Viva
14. Mobile content and applications
14.1 SMS and MMS
14.2 OTT messaging services
14.3 m-TV
14.4 m-advertising
14.5 m-banking
15. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Kuwait 2015
Table 2 Telecom services revenue statistic 2014
Table 3 Telephone network statistics 2015
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2015
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2015
Table 6 National telecommunications authority
Table 7 GDP growth and inflation 2005 - 2015
Table 8 Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2015
Table 9 Internet users and penetration 1995 - 2015
Table 10 Fixed Broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2015
Table 11 Household PC penetration 2002 - 2015
Table 12 Social network advertising revenue- Middle East compared to other regions 2013 - 2015
Table 13 - Facebook Stats for Kuwait and Middle East as at July 2015
Table 14 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
Table 15 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2015
Table 16 Mobile operators' market share 2005 - 2014
Table 17 Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change 2014
Table 18 Zain and Ooredoo prepaid share 2005 - 2014
Table 19 Zain Total daily data volume 2010 - 2014
Table 20 Zain Group subscribers, revenue and profit 2002 1H 2015
Table 21 Zain Kuwait revenue, income, ARPU and subscribers 2005 - 2014
Table 22 Ooredoo Kuwait financial data 2009 - 2014
Table 23 Ooredoo Kuwait prepaid, postpaid, and mobile broadband subscribers 2007 - 2014
Table 24 Viva revenue, net profit, EBITDA, and subscribers 2009 - 2014
Chart 1 Mobile operators' market share 2009 - 2014
Exhibit 1 Middle East offers online advertising potential

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