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Middle East - Mobile Network Operators and MVNOs

Middle East - Mobile Network Operators and MVNOs

Middle East mobile operators begin to see rising data revenues

On a global level, we saw the mobile operators in the developed markets begin international expansion a few years ago, when it became clear that the mobile markets were saturated and revenue growth opportunities were limited. Developing markets like the Middle East were quickly identified as offering room for potential mobile growth as well as infrastructure building opportunities.

In many ways, the Middle East has benefited from this trend with 6 international operators providing services in parts of the region; bringing valuable experience, infrastructure, services, investment and solutions to the region. The Middle East also has 9 dominant domestic players of its own which are competing with these international players.

The operators face many challenges in the Middle East, including the rise of competition; the impact of civil conflict upon the region, difficult topography, variances in regulatory laws and differing economic conditions. The operators also need to keep pace with the rapid rate of development in telecoms on a global level and this requires huge capital expenditure as well as an appropriately skilled workforce.

Many operators are obliged to pay large tax levies and licensing fees depending on the country - and are subject to various regulatory conditions applied across the different markets of the Middle East.

In many cases governments and operators have attempted to curb or stop the disruptive influence of Over-The-Top players; however, this has had limited success as it can be difficult to regulate such prohibitions and citizens often turn to VPN solutions to access such 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 analyses of each countries’ mobile market, key mobile market statistics and information on the major operators and trends. It also includes mobile subscriber data for the major international and domestic operators.

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:

Many Middle Eastern mobile operators are facing increased challenges in the mobile sector, due primarily to regulatory reforms, liberalisation, Over-The-Top providers, economic and civil conditions, the lifting of sanctions (Iran) and mobile market saturation.

The mobile operators have risen to the challenges presented across the various markets. By using methods such as network infrastructure sharing, international expansion, acquisitions and partnerships, cost cutting and service improvements, many of the operators continue to survive and even grow. Focusing on mobile broadband opportunities is becoming particularly beneficial to many operators.

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
    • RISING DATA REVENUES
    • OPPORTUNITIES IN THE ENTERPRISE SECTOR
    • INFRASTRUCTURE SHARING
    • IMPACT OF REGIONAL CONFLICT
    • SIM REGISTRATION
    • IMPACT OF OTT PLAYERS
    • 5G
    • LEADING MOBILE OPERATORS BY COUNTRY
      • Major domestic operators
        • Table Middle East - Major domestic operators by subscribers - 2012 - Q3 2017
      • Major international operators
        • Table Middle East - International mobile operators by subscribers - 2012 - 2017
    • 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 ANALYSIS
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Second mobile licence
      • Third mobile licence
      • Prepaid subscriber registration
      • Roaming tariff reduction
      • MNP
        • Table Bahrain - Accepted cumulative mobile number portability requests - 2011 - Q3 2016
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Batelco
        • Table Bahrain - Batelco total group mobile subscribers - 2005 - Q3 2017
      • Zain Bahrain
        • Table Zain Bahrain - revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX and ARPU - 2005 - 9M 2017
      • Viva Bahrain / STC Bahrain
  • IRAN
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Table Iran - Mobile operators market share - 2016; mid 2017
      • MCI (Mobile Communications Iran)/Hamrah-e-Avval
      • MTN Irancell
        • Table MTN Irancell - Revenue and CAPEX - 2013 - 2016
        • Table MTN Irancell - mobile subscribers - 2007 - 2016
      • Tamin Telecom (Rightel)
      • Taliya/Rafsanjan Industrial Complex Islamic Cooperative Company (RIC)
    • MVNOS
  • IRAQ
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • Table Iraq - Mobile operator market shares - 2004 - 2017
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Temporary mobile licences awarded in 2003
      • Permanent licences awarded in 2007
      • Fourth mobile licence
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Asiacell Communications (Oooredoo)
        • Table Iraq - Asiacell revenue - 2016; 2017
        • Table Iraq - Asiacell subscribers - 2006 - 2017
      • Zain Iraq (formerly MTC Atheer)
        • Table Zain Iraq financial data - 2006 - 2017
        • Table Zain Iraq mobile subscribers - 2006 - 2017
        • Table Zain Iraq prepaid subscribers - 2009 - 2017
      • Korek Telecom
        • Table Iraq - Korek Telecom subscribers - 2013 - 2016
      • Kurdistan operators
  • ISRAEL
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • 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
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Connection charges
      • Licensing
      • LTE Spectrum
      • Roaming
      • MTRs
      • Early termination fee reduction
      • MNP
      • Network sharing
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Cellcom
        • Table Israel - Cellcom - consolidated revenue and operating profit - 2005 - Q3 2017
        • Table Israel - Cellcom - mobile subscribers and ARPU - 2005 - Q3 2017
      • Partner Communications Company (formerly Orange)
        • Table Israel - Partner - revenue and operating profit - 2005 - Q3 2017
        • Table Israel - Partner - mobile subscribers and monthly ARPU - 2005 - Q3 2017
      • Pelephone (Bezeq)
        • Table Israel - Pelephone - revenue and operating profit - 2003 - 9M 2017
        • Table Israel - Pelephone - mobile subscribers and monthly ARPU - 2005 - Q3 2017
      • HOT Mobile
        • Table Israel - HOT Mobile - revenue, EBITDA, CAPEX - Q3 2016; 2017
        • Table Israel - HOT Mobile - mobile subscribers - 2010 - Q3 2016
      • Golan Telecom (acquired by Electra in 2017)
    • MVNOS
      • Historical background
      • Recent developments
  • JORDAN
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • Table Jordan - Major mobile operators' market share - 2004 - 2016
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Third GSM licence
      • 3G licences
      • 4G spectrum
      • SIM card registration
      • MTRs
        • Table Jordan - Mobile Termination Rates - 2010 - 2014
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Zain Jordan
        • Table Zain Jordan financial data (including ARPU) - 2005 - 2016
        • Table Zain Jordan prepaid/postpaid mobile subscribers - 2005 - 1H 2017
      • Orange Jordan
        • Table Orange Jordan - mobile revenue and subscribers - 2006 - 2016
      • Umniah
        • Table Jordan - Umniah - mobile subscribers - 2008 - 2016
    • MVNOS
  • KUWAIT
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • Table Kuwait - Mobile operators' market share - 2005 - 2017
      • Table Kuwait - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - 2017
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Third mobile operator
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Roaming tariff reduction
      • Spectrum refarming for LTE
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Zain Kuwait
        • Table Kuwait - Zain Group subscribers, revenue and profit - 2005 - 2017
        • Table Zain Kuwait revenue, income, ARPU and subscribers - 2005 - 2017
        • Table Kuwait - Zain - prepaid share - 2005 - 2017
      • Ooredoo Kuwait
        • Table Ooredoo Kuwait financial data and subscribers - 2016; 2017
      • Viva
        • Table Kuwait - Viva revenue, net profit, EBITDA, and subscribers - 2012 - 2017
  • LEBANON
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • Table Lebanon - Mobile operators' market share - 2009 - 2017
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Touch (operated by Zain)
        • Table Lebanon - Touch mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2017
      • Alfa
        • Table Lebanon - Alfa - mobile subscribers - 2009 - 2017
  • OMAN
    • MOBILE MARKET ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • Table Oman - Operators mobile market share by subscribers - 2012 - Q3 2017
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Second mobile licence
      • Third mobile licence
      • Reseller/MVNO licences
      • Roaming
      • MNP
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Oman Mobile Telecommunications (OMTC)
        • Table Omantel Group revenue by segment - 2012 - Q3 2017
        • Table Omantel Oman revenue - 2012 - Q3 2017
        • Table Omantel Mobile- mobile subscribers - 2015 - Q2 2016
      • Ooredoo Oman
        • Table Ooredoo Oman - total fixed and mobile subscribers - 2011 - 2016
    • MVNOS
  • QATAR
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • Table Qatar - Mobile operators' market share - 2009 - 2015
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Second mobile licence
      • Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO)
      • Roaming tariff reduction
      • NP
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Ooredoo Qatar
        • Table Ooredoo Qatar revenue and net profit - 2005 - 2017
      • Vodafone Qatar
        • Table Vodafone Qatar - financial data - 2009 - 2017
        • Table Vodafone Qatar - mobile subscribers - 2009 - 2017
  • SAUDI ARABIA
    • MARKET OVERVIEW
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • Table Saudi Arabia - Major mobile operators' subscribers and market shares - 2005 - Q1 2017
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Award of second GSM mobile licence
      • iDEN contract awarded
      • Award of Third Generation (3G) licences
      • Award of third mobile licence
      • Mobile license extensions 2016
      • Roaming
      • MTRs
      • Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • Fingerprinting law
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Saudi Telecom Company (STC)
      • Mobily (Etihad Etisalat)
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Mobily revenue and mobile subscribers - 2006 - 9M 2017
      • Zain KSA
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Zain KSA mobile subscribers and revenue - 2015 - 9M 2017
  • SYRIA
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Third mobile licence
      • Current BOT contracts/Long term free hold licenses
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Syriatel
        • Table Syriatel - Revenue - 2008 - 2017
      • MTN Syria
        • Table MTN Syria Revenue and CAPEX - 2009 - mid 2016
        • Table MTN Syria - Subscribers - 2009 - Q3 2017
  • TURKEY
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Overview (recent general laws and regulations)
      • Third Generation (3G) licences
      • Third and fourth GSM licences
      • Significant market power (SMP)
      • MTRs
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Telsim privatisation
    • 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 ANALYSIS
    • OPERATOR STATISTICS
      • Table UAE - mobile operators' market share by subscribers - 2010 - 2016
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Roaming tariff reduction
      • MNP
    • MAJOR MOBILE OPERATORS
      • Etisalat
        • Table Etisalat (UAE) mobile subscribers and blended ARPU - 2011 - 2017
      • du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company)
        • Table UAE - du mobile revenue - 2009 - 2016
        • Table UAE - du mobile subscribers - 2010 - 2017
        • Table UAE - du mobile minutes of use (MOU) - 2010 - 2014
    • MVNOS
      • Virgin Mobile
      • Swyp
  • YEMEN
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • GSM licences awarded
      • Third GSM licence
    • 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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