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2008 Middle Eastern - Fixed Telecoms Market Overview

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the regulatory background and fixed-line markets in the Middle East. Subjects covered include:

  • Fixed line statistics and trends;
  • National telecom networks and infrastructure;
  • International submarine cables;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Brief overviews of all major Middle Eastern fixed-line telecom operators.

This Middle East market report gives an overview of the fixed-line segment of the telecoms markets of the region. It also details the major operators and infrastructure in each of the following countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE and Yemen. The region’s markets include:


From 1 July 2004 all sectors of the Bahraini communications market were liberalised. There are now 16 operators, including seven fixed-line local voice service providers and 15 international voice service providers. The TRA claims that international call charges fell by 56% over the three years to 2008. Much of this change has been caused by the growth of VoIP-based calling cards, driven particularly by the large expat population.

Incumbent Batelco expects to complete the migration of all services from its original network to an NGN by the end of 2008. Israel

While incumbent Bezeq still has a big majority of the domestic fixed-line market, its share has fallen rapidly since the introduction of number portability in December 2007 and by mid-2008 was down to 85%. VoIP operators and cable company HOT are the beneficiaries.

The international fixed-line market has been very competitive for many years. Three operators dominate the market with roughly equal shares. All are keen to move into providing domestic call services and the three already share the majority of the ISP market.

This market is particularly interesting as these players, together with the three mobile operators, jostle for position. Significant investments are being made in NGN infrastructure.


Jordan has one of the most open telecom markets in the Middle East and an independent regulator. The fixed-line sector was liberalised on 1 January 2005 with the market open to full competition. Incumbent operator Jordan Telecom has been fully privatised.

Instead of full Local Loop Unbundling, the TRC introduced cost-based bit-stream unbundling. Jordan Telecom introduced a wholesale pricing structure, with discounts for alternative licensed operators and ISPs, in May 2004, but alternative operators have continually complained that wholesale rates are too high. The TRC is now planning to introduce LLU in some form and in early 2008 conducted a consultation process in preparation.

Faced with the unavoidable prospect of losing voice market share to alternative operators, Jordan Telecom has increased its focus on broadband services. Alternative operators mostly offer VoIP services and compete in the long-distance voice markets.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian fixed-line teledensity (and broadband penetration) are low. Competition has been introduced into the fixed-line market with hope that it will lead to similar extensive development as has happened in the mobile market with increased competition. Three companies were awarded licences -Batelco/Atheeb, US consortia MCI International/Verizon and Hong Kong-based PCCW. Data communication provision licences were also awarded to two companies - ITC and Bayanat Al Oula. Bayanat has since been acquired by mobile operator Mobily, a subsidiary of UAE incumbent Etisalat, which could result in a serious competitor for STC.

All licence winners, together with incumbent STC, are making substantial investments in infrastructure and intend to make extensive use of WiMAX.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the regulatory structure and fixed-line markets in the Middle East, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

  • The increasing competition in the fixed-line sector;
  • Developments and investment in fixed-line infrastructure;
  • Increasing international submarine cable capacity;
  • Operator acquisition activity both in the region and beyond.

1. Telecommunications Overview
1.1 Market overview
1.2 Telecommunications infrastructure
1.2.1 National networks
1.2.2 New developments
1.2.3 International submarine cable networks
2. Bahrain
2.1 Overview of Bahrain’s telecom market
2.2 Fixed network operators in Bahrain
2.2.1 Bahrain telecommunications company (Batelco)
2.2.2 Alternative operators
2.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
2.3.1 National telecom network
2.3.2 International infrastructure
2.4 Wholesaling
2.4.1 Overview
3. Egypt
3.1 Overview of Egypt’s telecom market
3.2 Fixed network operators in Egypt
3.2.1 Telecom Egypt
3.2.2 Orascom Telecom
3.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
3.3.1 National telecom network
3.3.2 International infrastructure
3.4 Fixed voice market
3.4.1 National and international call traffic
4. Iran
4.1 Overview of Iran’s telecom market
4.2 Fixed network operator in Iran
4.2.1 Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI)
4.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
4.3.1 National telecom network
4.3.2 International infrastructure
5. Iraq
5.1 Overview of Iraq’s telecom market
5.2 Fixed network operators in Iraq
5.2.1 Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company (ITPC)
5.2.2 Wireless Local Loop operators
5.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
5.3.1 National telephone network
5.3.2 International infrastructure
6. Israel
6.1 Overview of Israel’s telecom market
6.1.1 Market analysis - 2008
6.2 Fixed network operators in Israel
6.2.1 Overview of operators
6.2.2 Bezeq
6.2.3 Bezeq International
6.2.4 HOT Cable Systems Media
6.2.5 NetVision 013 Barak
6.2.6 012 Smile.Communications (Internet Gold Golden Lines) / Eurocom
6.2.7 Xfone 018
6.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
6.3.1 National telecom network
6.3.2 International infrastructure
6.3.3 Infrastructure developments
6.4 Wholesaling
6.4.1 Overview
7. Jordan
7.1 Overview of Jordan’s telecom market
7.2 Fixed network operators in Jordan
7.2.1 Jordan Telecom Group
7.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
7.3.1 National telecom network
7.3.2 International infrastructure
7.4 Wholesaling
7.4.1 Access
7.4.2 JTG’s pricing structure
8. Kuwait
8.1 Overview of Kuwait’s telecom market
8.2 Fixed network operator in Kuwait
8.2.1 Ministry of Communications
8.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
8.3.1 National telecom network
8.3.2 International infrastructure
9. Lebanon
9.1 Overview of Lebanon’s telecom market
9.1.1 InvestCom
9.1.2 Saudi Oger / Oger Telecom
9.2 Fixed network operator in Lebanon
9.2.1 Ogero Telecom
9.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
9.3.1 National telecom network
9.3.2 International infrastructure
10. Oman
10.1 Overview of Oman’s telecom market
10.2 Fixed network operator in Oman
10.2.1 Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel)
10.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
10.3.1 National telecom network
10.3.2 International infrastructure
11. Qatar
11.1 Overview of Qatar’s telecom market
11.2 Fixed network operator in Qatar
11.2.1 Qtel
11.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
11.3.1 National telecom network
11.3.2 International infrastructure
12. Saudi Arabia
12.1 Overview of Saudi Arabia’s telecom market
12.2 Fixed network operators in Saudi Arabia
12.2.1 Saudi Telecom Company (STC)
12.2.2 ITC
12.2.3 Bayanat Al-Oula
12.2.4 Saudi Oger/Oger Telecom
12.2.5 Hits Telecom
12.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
12.3.1 National telecom network
12.3.2 International infrastructure
13. Syria
13.1 Overview of Syria’s telecom market
13.2 Fixed network operator in Syria
13.2.1 Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE)
13.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
13.3.1 National telecom network
13.3.2 International infrastructure
14. Turkey
14.1 Overview of Turkey’s telecom market
14.2 Fixed network operators in Turkey
14.2.1 Turk Telekom
14.2.2 Turksat
14.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
14.3.1 National telecom network
14.3.2 International infrastructure
15. United Arab Emirates
15.1 Overview of UAE’s telecom market
15.1.1 Market analysis - 2008
15.2 Telecom operators in UAE
15.2.1 Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)
15.2.2 Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company/du
15.2.3 TECOM Investments/Dubai Holding/Emirates International Telecommunications (EIT)
15.2.4 UAE investment companies owning telcos outside the UAE
15.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
15.3.1 National telecom networks
15.3.2 Infrastructure developments
15.3.3 International infrastructure
16. Yemen
16.1 Overview of Yemen’s telecom market
16.2 Fixed network operators in Yemen
16.2.1 TeleYemen/Yemen International Telecommunication Company
16.2.2 Public Telecommunications Corporation (PTC)
16.3 Telecommunications infrastructure
16.3.1 National telecom network
16.3.2 International infrastructure
17. Glossary of Abbreviations

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