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Kuwait - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Kuwait is one of the wealthier members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), ranking third in GDP per capita behind Qatar and the UAE. Kuwait’s economy is primarily dependent on oil revenue, representing approximately 50% of GDP and almost all government revenue. Like the other smaller GCC members, it has a very high expatriate population, forming at least two-thirds of the whole country. As in other similar countries, this makes its total population very fluid and thus all penetration statistics very unreliable and distorted.

Kuwait’s telecoms industry is something of an anachronism in the region due to the lack of liberalisation of the market. Not only does Kuwait not have an independent regulator, the Ministry of Communications is both the regulatory entity and also the operating entity for fixed-line services. Plans to establish a telecommunications regulatory authority have been raised, particularly by competitors, although nothing has materialised.

A further problem with the lack of independence and corporatisation in the fixed-line sector is a lack of available information on the sector.

Limited competition does exist in the Internet provision sector, with four major ISPs, although prices are set by the government. Services are accessible via ADSL, FttH and WiMAX.

Recognising the potential of applying ICT to improve both social and economic development, Kuwait has taken steps to develop a digital economy ; national level policies for e-health and e-government have been developed, with a number of services available online.

The mobile sector has been the most successful telecoms market in Kuwait. Zain and Wataniya operated as a duopoly with competition only improving after a third operator, Viva, launched services. Penetration has reached levels indicative of saturation. Competition will improve further should mobile number portability be introduced which is currently in the planning phase. All three mobile network operators have launched mobile broadband products to take advantage of deployed 3G/HSPA networks. With offered download speeds higher than that of fixed line ISPs, mobile broadband presents the mobile operators with an opportunity to make inroads into the underdeveloped broadband market, given the reach of their networks, existing brand recognition and product distribution channels as well as established pool of customers.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Kuwait’s telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.3 Privatisation of Mobile Telecommunications Co
5. Telecom operators in Kuwait
5.1 Ministry of Communications
5.2 Hits Telecom
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
6.2.2 Satellite networks
6.3 Telecoms & IT
7. Broadband access market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Broadband and Internet statistics
7.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
7.3 ISP market
7.3.1 Overview
7.3.2 Qualitynet
7.3.3 Zajil /KEMS
7.3.4 Fast Telecommunications Company
7.3.5 United Networks
7.4 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
7.5 Fibre to the Home (FttH)
7.6 Wireless broadband
7.6.1 WiMAX
7.7 VoIP
8. Digital economy/digital media
8.1 Overview
9. Digital broadcasting
9.1 Overview of broadcasting market
9.1.1 Orbit Showtime Network (OSN)
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Kuwait’s mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Mobile subscriber forecasts
10.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher growth
10.2.2 Scenario 1 – lower growth
10.2.3 Notes on scenario forecasts
10.3 Regulatory issues
10.3.1 Third mobile operator
10.3.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
10.3.3 Roaming tariff reduction
10.4 Mobile technologies
10.4.1 Analogue
10.4.2 2G / GSM
10.4.3 3G / HSPA
10.4.4 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE)
10.5 Major mobile operators
10.5.1 Mobile Telecommunications Co (MTC) / Zain
10.5.2 National Mobile Telecommunication Co (NMT)/Wataniya Telecom
10.5.3 Kuwait Telecom Company (KTC)/Viva
10.6 Mobile voice services
10.6.1 Prepaid
10.6.2 Satellite mobile
10.7 Mobile messaging
10.7.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
10.7.2 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
10.8 Mobile broadband
10.9 Mobile content and applications
10.9.1 Mobile TV
11. Related reports
Lists
Table 1 – Country statistics Kuwait – 2011
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2011
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2010
Table 4 – Fixed broadband statistics – 2010
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2011
Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
Table 7 – GDP growth and inflation – 2005 - 2011
Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2012
Table 9 – Internet user and penetration estimates – 1995 - 2011
Table 10 – Internet subscribers - 2003 - 2011
Table 11 – Fixed Broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2011
Table 12 – Household PC penetration – 2002 - 2011
Table 13 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rates – 1994 - 2012
Table 14 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – September 2011
Table 15 – Mobile operators’ subscribers and market share – 2005 - 2011
Table 16 – Forecast mobile subscribers in Kuwait – higher growth scenario – 2015; 2020
Table 17 – Forecast mobile subscriber in Kuwait – lower growth scenario – 2015; 2020
Table 18 – Zain Group subscribers, revenue and profit – 2002 - 2011
Table 19 – Zain Kuwait revenue, income, ARPU and active customers – 2005 – 2011
Table 20 – Wataniya Group subscribers, revenue and profit – 2005 - 2011
Table 21 – Wataniya Kuwait financial data – 2006 - 2011
Table 22 – Wataniya Kuwait subscribers - 2006 - 2011
Table 23 – Wataniya Kuwait quarterly ARPU – 2010 – 2011
Table 24 – Zain pre and postpaid subscribers – 2005 - 2011
Table 25 – Wataniya pre and postpaid subscribers – 2005 - 2011
Table 26 – Total mobile subscriptions with broadband capability – 2006 - 2011
Chart 1 – Kuwait fixed-line and mobile subscribers – 2000 – 2012

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