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Lebanon - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Lebanon - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

Progress ahead for Lebanon's fixed and mobile broadband markets

Lebanon's mobile infrastructure has been primarily focused on 2G and 3G networks in recent years. However this is set to change with The Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) launching a 2020 Telecom Vision initiative in mid 2015. While only around 16% of Lebanon has 4G mobile coverage, both Touch and Alfa are planning to upgrade and expand their 4G networks during 2016. Touch has commissioned Huawei and Nokia for the work, while Alfa has also contracted Nokia along with Ericsson.

Improvements in mobile infrastructure will hopefully overshadow stalled development of the tendering of Lebanon's mobile network management contracts. The government announced in mid 2015 that a tender process would be held for obtaining the contracts and a final decision would be announced in the following September. However various delays and issues regarding tender applications means that in 2016 decisions regarding the ongoing management of the mobile networks has not been made. In the interim, Kuwait's Zain Group continues to manage Touch Lebanon and Egypt's Orascom continues to mange Alfa.

The 2020 Telecom Vision project by the MoT will also see improvements in fibre-optic infrastructure with plans for the entire country to be covered by 2020. Lebanon's subscriber base for fixed broadband services is growing and in 2016 there are well over half a million subscribers to both DSL and, more recently, Fibre-to-the-Curb (FttC) networks.

Improvements to broadband infrastructure will also boost the already flourishing digital economy in Lebanon. Lebanon has a well developed start-up culture that has attracted international interest and recognition. The digital media sector in Lebanon is also growing strongly, with Lebanon citizens large users of Facebook. However there is some evidence that social media users in Lebanon, as well as the Middle East, are beginning to turn away from services like Facebook and Twitter and transition to mobile messaging applications Whatsapp and Snapchat instead. This is largely due to citizens concerns regarding security and privacy and a general feeling that their online use is being monitored by companies and government alike.

Overall, the ICT sector has grown significantly in Lebanon. With the government supporting and financing the 2020 Telecom Vision project we should see some great progress over the next few years. Infrastructure improvements will not only assist Lebanon in terms of communication delivery, but also grow its mobile data usage, along with its promising start-up culture. The pressure placed upon Lebanon by the influx of refugees may also be assisted by ICT improvements and digital technologies.

Key telecom parameters 2013; 2016
Sector | 2013 | 2016
Subscribers to telecoms services (million): (e)
Fixed Broadband users | 0.48 | 0.58
Fixed-line telephony | 0.86 | 0.99
Mobile phone | 3.88 | 4.59
(Source: BuddeComm based on industry data)

Key developments:

Lebanon's telecoms market holds a unique position in the Middle East given the level of government involvement. While most incumbents in the region are government owned, within Lebanon, government ownership also extends to the country's two mobile operators.
The mobile operators in Lebanon, Touch and Alfa hold a 54% market share and 46% market share respectively at the end of 2015.
The majority of Touch's mobile subscribers in Lebanon are on pre-paid plans.
Mobile payments solutions are beginning to emerge in Lebanon and are being offered by banks and mobile operators alike.
The renewed focus on building fibre networks as part of Telecom Vision 2020 should see Lebanon's broadband sector improve significantly in the next few years.
Mobile broadband has reached over 60% penetration in Lebanon where the majority of citizens own mobile phones.
Marketing companies are slowly beginning to see the benefits of digital advertising in Lebanon with just over 5% of advertising spending directed towards this medium in 2015 a rise from around 3.5% a year earlier.

Companies covered in this report include:

Ogero Telecom, Touch, Alfa Telecom, Cable One, Cedarcom, GlobalCom Data Services (GDS), Pesco Telecom, Sodetel, IDM/Cyberia, TerraNet, Cinemoz, Leap Ventures, MarkaVIP, Telly, ICFlix Media, OSN, Viamobile, PinPay.

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Historical overview
3.2 Market analysis
3.3 Recent developments
3.3.1 Telecom Vision 2020
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation in Lebanon
4.4 Privatisation
4.4.1 Ogero Telecom
4.4.2 Mobile operators
4.5 Interconnect
5. Fixed network operator
5.1 Ogero Telecom
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
7. Broadband access market
7.1 Market analysis
7.2 Broadband statistics
7.3 Broadband subscriber forecasts
7.3.1 Scenario 1 higher growth
7.3.2 Scenario 2 lower growth
7.4 Competition issues
7.4.1 Data service providers
7.4.2 ISP market
7.5 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
7.6 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
7.7 Other fixed broadband services
7.7.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
7.7.2 Internet via satellite (Ku band services)
8. Digital economy
8.1 Overview
8.1.1 Start-ups in Lebanon
8.1.2 MIEP project
8.2 E-commerce/e-banking
8.2.1 MarkaVIP thriving in the Middle East
8.3 E-government
8.4 E-education
8.4.1 Mobile Learning (m-learning)
8.4.2 PC and Internet penetration
8.5 E-health
8.5.1 Digital technologies assist refugees in Lebanon and the Middle East
9. Digital media
9.1 Advertising
9.2 Videostreaming
9.3 Social media
9.4 Cloud technology
9.5 Music
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Market analysis
10.2 Mobile statistics
10.2.1 General statistics
10.3 Mobile voice
10.3.1 Prepaid
10.3.2 Satellite mobile
10.3.3 Mobile VoIP
10.4 Mobile data
10.4.1 SMS and MMS
10.4.2 OTT messaging services
10.5 Mobile broadband statistics
10.6 Regulatory issues
10.6.1 Overview
10.6.2 Lebanon's current mobile contracts
10.6.3 Open international tender 2015
10.7 Mobile infrastructure
10.7.1 Digital networks
10.8 IoT and M2M networks
10.9 Major mobile operators
10.9.1 Touch (operated by Zain)
10.9.2 Alfa
11. Mobile content and applications
11.1 m-commerce
11.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
11.3 m-TV
11.4 Apps
11.5 Mobile handsets
12. Related reports
Table 1 Country statistics Lebanon - 2016
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2016
Table 3 Fixed broadband statistics 2015
Table 4 Mobile statistics 2016
Table 5 National telecommunications authorities
Table 6 GDP growth and inflation 2010 - 2015
Table 7 Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 2006 - 2016
Table 9 Internet user and penetration estimates 1995 - 2016
Table 10 Lebanon - broadband subscribers by access technology 2013; 2015
Table 11 Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2002 - 2016
Table 12 Household PC penetration 2002 - 2016
Table 13 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers higher growth scenario 2019; 2024
Table 14 Forecast fixed broadband subscribers lower growth scenario 2019; 2024
Table 15 Lebanon total advertising spend and online advertising spend 2012 - 2015
Table 16 - Facebook Stats for Middle East as at July 2015
Table 15 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
Table 16 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2016
Table 17 Mobile operators' market share 2004 1H 2015
Table 18 Active mobile broadband subscriptions 2011 - 2016
Table 19 Touch prepaid and postpaid subscribers 2005 - 2015
Table 20 Alfa subscribers 2009 - 2015

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