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Middle East - Mobile Infrastructure and Mobile Broadband

Middle East - Mobile Infrastructure and Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband infrastructure grows in the Middle East

Mobile communication has become very popular in the Middle East and penetration has increased remarkedly in recent years. The United Arab Emirates; Kuwait and Bahrain all have mobile penetration rates of over 200% and Jordan is not far behind with around 190%.

Mobile broadband still has growth potential in many markets however. Jordan, for example, has high mobile penetration but its mobile broadband penetration is only around 77%. Turkey also has a relatively low mobile broadband penetration rate in comparison to its very large population.

Many governments and operators have realised that high-speed mobile infrastructure is the key to driving mobile broadband growth and revenues. Subsequently, many of the higher-income markets, including countries of the Gulf Corporation Council, offer comprehensive 4G LTE networks and are now looking towards the next wave of technological developments.

In Bahrain, for example, LTE networks are well established, and the operators are exploring VoLTE, LTE-A, M2M and the potential of 5G in the future. Qatar and the United Arab Emirates plan to be some of the first in the region to launch commercial 5G services.

The Saudi Arabian government has also recognised the importance of broadband infrastructure for the future and entered 2018 on a positive note with the announcement of its largest financial budget ever. It will support the country’s expansion and diversification plans as part of its Vision 2030 program, which includes supporting potential investments in broadband infrastructure.

While parts of the Middle East are having ongoing civil unrest issues which has stagnated telecoms developments (e.g. Syria, Yemen) – the more stabilised and progressive countries are moving forwards and making significant inroads in developing and progressing mobile infrastructure and mobile broadband services.

This BuddeComm annual publication provides a country level analyses of 14 mobile markets across the Middle East including Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. It includes information on the mobile industry structure for each country, key mobile industry statistics including mobile broadband subscribers, regulatory information and analyses of mobile broadband and mobile infrastructure trends and developments.

This annual publication also incorporates BuddeComm’s ‘Middle East Telecoms Maturity Index’ (TMI). This is an index (on a scale between 0% and 100%) which measures and ranks the relative maturity of the telecoms industries in 12 countries in the region (Syria and Yemen have been excluded from the index at this time). The Index has been devised as a tool to compare the different markets easily and uniformly. Countries have been placed into Market Leaders, Market Challengers or Market Laggards categories according to their Market Index score. Countries are compared according to a number of parameters with a focus on fixed broadband and mobile broadband penetration. GDP is also included in a number of charts both for illustrative purposes and as a gauge to help decipher market maturity. However, a number of countries low on the Index scale are noted for the considerable effort still required in terms of market investment, regulatory oversight and effective government-sponsored direction. Given the poor condition of the telecoms market in these countries they have not been placed into either category.

Key developments:

Developing mobile infrastructure in the Middle East is important due to a general lack of significant fixed broadband infrastructure.
There are some countries demonstrating global leadership in terms of 5G development in the Middle East – and many other countries are also making strategic plans and partnerships in this regard.

Companies mentioned in this report

Mobile Telecommunications Co (MTC) / Zain, Ooredoo Kuwait (previously National Mobile Telecommunication Co (NMT) / Wataniya Telecom), Kuwait Telecom Company (KTC) / Viva, Batelco, Zain Bahrain, Viva Bahrain, Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI), Mobile Communications Iran (MCI), MTN Irancell, Tamin Telecom (Rightel), Mobile Telecommunications Company of Isfahan (MTCE), Telecommunication Kish Company (TKC), Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company (ITPC), Asiacell, Zain Iraq, Korek Telecom, Regional Telecom, Cellcom, Orange (Partner), Pelephone (Bezeq), HOT Mobile, Golan Telecom, Rami Levy, Jordan Telecom Group/Orange, Zain Jordan, Batelco/Umniah, Saudi Telecom Company (STC)/Bravo, Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)/Bayn Consortium, GO Telecom/Etihad Atheeb, Mobily/Ettihad Etisalat/Bayanat Al-Oula, Zain KSA, Lebara KSA/Etihad Jawraa, Virgin Mobile Middle East & Africa (Virgin Mobile MEA), Axiom Telecom, VIVA, Etisalat, du, Jordan Telecom Group/Orange, Zain Jordan, Batelco/Umniah, MTC Touch, Alfa Telecom, Ooredoo Qatar, Vodafone Qatar, OmanTel, Ooredoo Oman, FRiENDi, Majan Telecom (Renna), Samatel, Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE), MTN Syria, Syriatel, Turkcell, Vodafone Turkey, Avea.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • REGIONAL MOBILE OVERVIEW
    • COMPETITION REQUIRED FOR PROGRESS
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
    • CIVIL CONFLICT
    • 5G
      • Table Middle East countries leading 5G developments
    • REGULATORY LEADERSHIP
      • Table Potential frequency bands under consideration for 5G deployment globally
    • MIDDLE EAST TELECOMS MATURITY INDEX (TMI)
    • MIDDLE EAST TELECOMS MATURITY INDEX (TMI) VS GDP PER CAPITA
    • MIDDLE EAST MOBILE AND MOBILE BROADBAND PENETRATION
    • MIDDLE EAST FIXED AND MOBILE BROADBAND PENETRATION
    • GCC COUNTRIES FIXED AND MOBILE BROADBAND PENETRATION
  • BAHRAIN
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
      • Table Bahrain - Telecom sector revenue - 2006 - 2016
      • Table Bahrain - Telecom sector revenue breakdown - 2013 - 2016
      • Market analysis
    • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Regulatory authority
      • Overview
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Bahrain
      • Interconnect
      • Access
      • Number portability
        • Table Bahrain - Accepted cumulative mobile number portability requests - 2011 - 1H 2017
      • Privatisation
      • Mobile licenses
      • Subscriber registration
      • Roaming tariff reduction
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Bahrain - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Bahrain - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2018
      • Mobile broadband statistics
        • Table Bahrain - Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration - 2012 - Q3 2017
    • MOBILE VOICE
      • Prepaid
        • Table Bahrain total prepaid mobile subscribers - 1999 - 2017
        • Table Bahrain - Retail mobile market revenue - 2012 - 2016
        • Table Bahrain - Mobile ARPS - 2012 - 2016
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Brief intro analogue networks
      • Digital networks
      • 5G
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
  • IRAN
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Sixth five year plan 2016 -2021
      • Regulatory authority
      • WiMAX licences
      • Number Portability (NP)
      • Roaming
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Iran - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 1995 - 2006
        • Table Iran - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2007 - 2018
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Iran - Mobile broadband subscriptions and penetration - 2013 - 2020
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Digital networks
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • Messaging services
      • M-banking (payments/loans)
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
  • IRAQ
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Iraq
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Iraq - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2002 - 2017
        • Table Iraq - Mobile operator market shares - 2004 - 2017
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Iraq - Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2014; 2016
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • 3G
      • LTE
      • Satellite mobile
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
    • M-BANKING AND M-PAYMENTS
  • ISRAEL
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Privatisation of Bezeq
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Israel
      • Number Portability (NP)
      • Net Neutrality
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Israel - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Israel -Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2018
        • Table Israel -Major mobile operators' market share by subscribers - 2010 - 2016
        • Table Israel -Major mobile operators' subscribers - 2017
        • Table Israel -Major mobile operators' monthly mobile ARPU - 2013 - Q3 2017
      • Mobile broadband statistics
        • Table Israel -Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2010 - 2017
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Brief intro analogue networks
      • Digital networks
      • 5G
      • IoT and M2M networks
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
  • JORDAN
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation
      • Privatisation
      • Interconnect
      • Access
      • Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
      • Mobile regulatory issues
        • Table Jordan - Mobile Termination Rates - 2010 - 2014
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Jordan - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Jordan - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2018
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Jordan - Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2010 - 2018
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Digital networks
      • Satellite mobile
    • IOT AND M2M NETWORKS
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
  • KUWAIT
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Privatisation
      • Mobile regulatory issues
      • Mobile tower management
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Kuwait - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Kuwait - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2018
        • Table Kuwait - Mobile operators' market share - 2005 - 2017
        • Table Kuwait - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - 2017
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Kuwait - active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2015 - 2018
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Analogue networks
      • Digital networks
  • LEBANON
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Background
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Lebanon
      • Privatisation
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • Table Lebanon - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
      • Table Lebanon - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2018
      • Table Lebanon - Mobile operators' market share - 2009 - 2017
    • MOBILE DATA
      • OTT messaging services
      • M2M
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Lebanon - Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2011 - 2018
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • GSM, 3G
      • 4G LTE
      • 5G
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
  • OMAN
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Revision of the telecommunication regulatory law - 2011-2015
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Oman
      • Privatisation
      • Interconnect
      • Access
      • Universal Service Obligation (USO)
      • Royalty fees
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • COMPETITION ISSUES
      • Market competitiveness report
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Oman - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Oman - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2018
        • Table Oman - Mobile sector total ARPU - 2005 - 2017
        • Table Oman - Operators mobile market share by subscribers - 2012 - Q3 2017
      • Mobile voice
        • Table Oman - Total prepaid and post-paid subscribers - 2005 - 2017
      • Mobile data
        • Table Oman - SMS messages sent - 2006 - 2016
        • Table Oman - MMS messages sent - 2010 - 2016
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Oman - Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2008 - 2017
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Brief intro analogue networks
      • Digital networks
      • 5G
      • IoT and M2M networks
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
  • QATAR
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • KEY RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Qatar
      • Privatisation
      • Interconnect
      • Access
      • Wholesale transmission
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Qatar - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Qatar - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2018
        • Table Qatar - Mobile operators' market share - 2009 - 2015
      • Mobile messaging
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Qatar - Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2008 - 2018
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Brief intro analogue networks
      • Digital networks
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
  • SAUDI ARABIA
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Universal Licenses
        • Table Saudi Arabia - mobile, fixed-line and total telecoms revenue of service providers - 2001 - 2016
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Fixed telephone teledensity and mobile subscriber penetration - 2012 - Q3 2017
      • Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030
    • SUMMARY OF KEY DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation
      • Data service provider licences
      • Fixed-line licences
      • New satellite broadband license
      • Interconnect and access
      • Number Portability (NP)
      • Universal service
      • Mobile Regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET OVERVIEW
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2007 - 2018
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Major mobile operators' subscribers and market shares - 2005 - Q1 2017
      • Mobile voice
        • Table Saudi Arabia - prepaid subscribers - 2002 - Q3 2017
      • Mobile data
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Saudi Arabia - Mobile broadband subscriptions - technologies and penetration - 2010 - Q3 2017
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • GSM, 3G
      • LTE, LTE-A
      • Satellite mobile
      • 5G
    • IOT AND M2M NETWORKS
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • M-banking
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
  • SYRIA
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MARKET CHALLENGES
    • EMERGENCY TELECOMMUNICATIONS CLUSTER (ETC)
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Syria
      • Interconnect
      • Mobile Regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • Table Syria - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1999 - 2016
    • MOBILE VOICE
      • Prepaid
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Syria - Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2009 - 2016
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • GSM, 3G, 4G
      • Satellite mobile
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • m-banking (payments/loans)
  • TURKEY
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Turkey
      • Privatisation
      • Interconnect
      • Access
      • Number Portability (NP)
      • Universal services
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table Turkey - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Turkey - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2018
        • Table Turkey - Breakdown of mobile revenue - 2008 - Q1 2016
      • Mobile voice
        • Table Turkey - Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers - 2000 - Q3 2017
      • SMS and MMS
      • Mobile broadband statistics
        • Table Turkey - Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2008 - 2017
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Table Turkey - 2G; 3G; 4G subscribers - 2009 - Q3 2017
      • 4G, LTE
      • 5G
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Table Turkey - Mobile operators' revenue market share by service - Q3 2017
      • Table Turkey - Mobile operators' market share by subscribers - 2007 - Q3 2017
      • Table Turkey - Mobile operators' market share by revenue - Q3 2017
      • Turkcell
        • Table Turkcell group financial data - 2012 - 2017
        • Table Turkcell Turkey average monthly blended ARPU - 2007 - 2016
        • Table Turkcell Turkey average monthly MOU and mobile churn - 2001 - 2016
        • Table Turkcell smartphone penetration - 2012 - 2016
      • Vodafone Turkey
        • Table Vodafone Turkey financial data - 2008 - 2017
        • Table Historical - Vodafone Turkey pre and post-paid ARPU - 2006 - 2014
        • Table Vodafone Turkey smartphone penetration - 2011 - 2015
      • Turk Telekom (Avea)
        • Table Turk Telekom mobile revenue - 2007 - Q2 2017
        • Table Turk Telekom prepaid, post-paid subscribers and blended ARPU - Q2 2013 - 2017
  • UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Table UAE - telecommunications revenue by sector - 2007 - 2015
    • KEY DEVELOPMENTS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Draft bill for new authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation
      • Interconnect and access
      • Fibre access
      • Number Portability (NP)
      • Royalty payments
      • Censorship
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • General statistics
        • Table UAE - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
        • Table UAE - Mobile subscribers and penetration - 2005 - 2017
        • Table UAE - mobile operators' market share by subscribers - 2010 - 2016
        • Table UAE - mobile revenue and ARPU - 2008 - 2015
        • Table UAE - prepaid vs postpaid revenue - 2008 - 2015
      • Mobile voice
        • Table UAE - prepaid subscribers - 2005 - 2017
      • Mobile data
        • Table UAE - SMS and MMS sent - 2007 - 2015
      • Mobile broadband statistics
        • Table UAE - mobile broadband subscribers and penetration - 2010 - 2017
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Brief intro analogue networks
      • Digital networks
        • Table UAE is one of the leading countries working towards 5G in the Middle East
      • IoT and M2M networks
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • m-commerce/m-payments
    • MOBILE HANDSETS
      • Table UAE - handset manufacturers' market share - 2013; 2015; 2017
  • YEMEN
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • KEY INDUSTRY CONSIDERATIONS
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation
      • Privatisation
      • Internet governance
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • Table Yemen - Mobile subscriptions and penetration - 2013 - 2017
    • MOBILE BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Yemen - Active mobile broadband subscriptions - 2011 - 2017
      • Mobile regulatory issues
    • MOBILE INFRASTRUCTURE
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • MTN Yemen
        • Table MTN Yemen - subscribers, ARPU, and market share - 2009 - 2017
        • Table MTN Yemen - revenue and capex - 2014 - 2017
      • SabaFon
        • Table Yemen - SabaFon subscribers - 2004 - 2017 Q2
      • TeleYemen/Yemen Mobile
      • HiTS Unitel/Y Telecom

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