The Qatar - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.
Qatar is small and very wealthy, with income per capita almost twice as high as even Kuwait or the UAE. This is reflected in high penetration rates for mobile and fixed-line telecoms and for broadband Internet services.
Qatar was the last country in the region to introduce competition to its telecoms market. In July 2009 Vodafone Qatar launched mobile services, ending the monopoly of all sectors of the market previously enjoyed by incumbent Qtel. The consortium led by Vodafone plc of the UK won the second mobile licence in December 2007. A second fixed-line licence was awarded in September 2008, also to the Vodafone consortium.
Vodafone Qatar came into a market where mobile penetration was already over 150%. Almost all the many new licences tendered in the region over the past few years have been won by local regional operators - other than France Telecom’s long-term share of Jordan’s JTC, Vodafone is the only European operator in the region. The path to launch was not easy, with both an IPO and the launch subject to delays.
Despite the high mobile penetration in Qatar, a lower percentage of 3G subscribers than in the UAE provided a market for Vodafone to target plus the ever-changing high expatriate population provides new subscriber opportunities.
Qtel prepared for competition, lowering tariffs in all sectors. Broadband tariffs in Qatar are particularly low (relative to incomes) for the region and broadband penetration on a household level is relatively high, being estimated possibly as high as 60%. In addition to ADSL services, mobile broadband subscribers are growing and Qtel has plans to build a Fibre to the Home (FttH) National Broadband Network (NBN), so far only with pilot projects completed. In addition to services to consumers and businesses, the trans-sector implications are understood.
Qtel is successfully selling its ‘Mozaic’ triple play package of voice, ADSL and IPTV.
Qtel has expanded outside its home market. Through its purchase of Wataniya of Kuwait, Qtel also acquired operations in Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Maldives and a licence for Palestine. In addition it has separately acquired in Iraq and Oman. Unlike most of its regional rivals, Qtel has expanded further into Asia with interests in Singapore, Cambodia and Laos. In February 2009 it completed the purchase of a 65% share in Indosat of Indonesia. Its operations outside Qatar made up over three quarters of its revenues for 2009 but remain considerably less profitable than its Qatari operations.
Broadband subscriber numbers are high for the region.
Qtel has begun building an FttH National Broadband Network. In addition to benefits for business applications and for triple-play services to consumers, Qtel emphasised the important trans-sector implications for the healthcare and educational sectors.
Second operator Vodafone has acquired an 18% share of the mobile market less than a year after launch.
Qtel has operations in 17 countries.