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Lebanon - Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband

The Lebanon - Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.

Executive summary

BuddeComm’s annual publication, Lebanon - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband, provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in Lebanon.

Political turmoil over many years has hindered the development of Lebanon’s telecoms industry. Consequently there has been no liberalisation and penetration rates are lower in all sectors (other than fixed lines) than in comparable countries in the region. Recent governments have seen the need for change but have been unable to carry it out. General elections in June 2009 resulted in a Western-backed coalition winning the most votes and being tasked by the President with forming a new government. A caretaker government took over while protracted negotiations took place on the formation of a more permanent cabinet.

In early 2009 the outgoing government went some way towards releasing the pent-up demand in the mobile market. Lebanon has two government-owned networks, operated by Orascom Telecom of Egypt and Zain of Kuwait in return for a management fee, with all revenue going to the government. All prices are set by the MoT. Previous governments have followed a strategy of limiting subscriber numbers and keeping tariffs high, resulting in the highest prices in the Middle East and the lowest penetration rates other than in desperately poor Yemen. Monthly ARPU levels were over US$60. In April 2009 the government took the radical step of lowering tariffs and increasing the maximum number of subscribers for each operator, arguing that total revenue would increase.

Broadband Internet services were very slow in coming to Lebanon and were not introduced until 2007, again leading to much frustration. The long wait for ADSL services, which were ‘imminent’ for over five years, was blamed variously on constraints in the capacity of the international cable, the lack of a functioning TRA to set and enforce prices, the difficulty of enforcing the ban on VoIP once DSL arrived (potentially having a disastrous effect on the state budget), and the protection of wireless broadband providers. The rollout of services was slow during 2008 but subscriber numbers appear to have increased rapidly during the first half of 2009.

A Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has been established in the expectation of further liberalisation. The appropriate law was passed in 2002 and the decrees for its establishment were approved in 2004 but from 2004 to 2007 the TRA board remained unappointed, partly due to political infighting over nominations. However, since beginning work in 2007, the TRA has been energetic and active, in so far as it has been able without new broader Government legislation, and has developed a Regulatory Framework designed to cover the entire spectrum of the telecom market.

Plans have existed for many years for the privatisation of fixed-line incumbent Ogero Telecom, starting with its conversion into a government-owned company Liban Telecom. In addition, privatisation plans for the mobile networks have come and gone since 2000. The most recent plans were put on hold in 2008 with the then upcoming elections and the Global Financial Crisis cited as reasons.

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Lebanon’s telecom market
3.1.1 InvestCom
3.1.2 Saudi Oger/Oger Telecom
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 in Lebanon
5.1 Ogero Telecom
6. Telecommunications infrastructure
6.1 National telecom network
6.2 International infrastructure
6.2.1 Submarine cable networks
6.2.2 Satellite networks
7. Broadband and Internet market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 Data service providers
7.2.1 Overview
7.2.2 Cable One
7.2.3 Cedarcom
7.2.4 GlobalCom Data Services
7.2.5 Pesco Telcom
7.2.6 Sodetel
7.3 ISP market
7.3.1 IDM (Netlink)
7.3.2 Cyberia
7.3.3 TerraNet
7.3.4 LYNX/Fiberlink Networks
7.4 Broadband market overview
7.5 Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
7.6 Cable modems
7.7 Wireless broadband
7.7.1 Local Multipoint Distribution System (LMDS)
7.7.2 WiFi
7.7.3 WiMAX
7.7.4 iBurst
7.7.5 Internet via satellite (Ku band services)
8. Convergence
8.1 Overview of media convergence
8.2 Triple play
8.3 VoIP
9. Digital media
9.1 Overview of broadcasting market
9.1.1 Broadcasting regulation
9.2 Digital TV
9.2.1 Broadband TV (IPTV)
9.2.2 Free-to-Air (FTA) and satellite TV
9.2.3 Pay-TV
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Lebanon’s mobile market
10.1.1 Distribution system problems
10.1.2 Mobile statistics
10.2 Regulatory issues
10.2.1 Overview
10.2.2 Lebanon’s current mobile contracts
10.2.3 2007 sale plans
10.2.4 2004 management contracts
10.2.5 Background - original BOT contracts
10.3 Mobile technologies
10.3.1 GSM
10.3.2 3G
10.4 Major mobile operators
10.4.1 MTC Touch/Zain
10.4.2 Alfa Telecom
10.5 Mobile voice services
10.5.1 Prepaid
10.5.2 Satellite mobile
10.6 Mobile data services
10.6.1 Mobiles at war
10.6.2 PowerMeMobile
11. Related reports
List of Tables
Table 1 - Country statistics Lebanon - 2008
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2008
Table 3 - Internet user statistics - 2008
Table 4 - Broadband statistics - April 2009
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - March 2009
Table 6 - National telecommunications authority
Table 7 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1996 - 2008
Table 8 - Internet user and penetration estimates - 1995 - 2008
Table 9 - Internet subscribers - 2001 - 2008
Table 10 - ADSL subscribers - 2008 - 2009
Table 11 - Cable modem Internet subscribers - 2002 - 2008
Table 12 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2009
Table 13 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
Table 14 - Zain prepaid and postpaid subscribers - 2005 - 2009

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