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Yemen - Telecoms, Mobile & Broadband

The Yemen - 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. Please review the Executive Summary and Table of Contents for more details.


Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East and economic difficulties are numerous. Around 35% of the population is below the poverty line. The telecoms sector reflects this situation. In addition the market has had little liberalisation, competition or private investment outside the mobile sector. All fixed-line and Internet services are provided by state-owned PTC and its subsidiaries. 

Infrastructure improvement has been slow and fixed-line penetration remains at less than 5%. ADSL broadband services have been launched however and both dial-up and broadband Internet subscribers are growing steadily but from a very small base and Internet user penetration remains at only 5%. Yemen’s low literacy rate, at about 50% of the population, is a major reason for low Internet penetration. Among adult women, literacy rates are only around 25%. Low Internet penetration rates also reflect the small number of computers in the country. Most Internet users access the Internet at Internet cafes, of which there were nearly 1,000 in 2009. 

Internet censorship is very strict - even local sites such as the UAE-based Arab portal Maktoob and Yemeni news portal YemenPortal.net have been blocked. 

Mobile telecoms are the big success story. Steady growth of 40-50% over the past two years has seen penetration rates rise to nearly 30%. Batelco of Bahrain and MTN of South Africa have major shares in GSM mobile operators. They each have about a third of the market with the majority state-owned CDMA operator Yemen Mobile also having around one third market share. Newer operator Unitel has seen its subscribers grow quite quickly but remains a smaller player.  

ARPU levels are very low at only around US$7 per month and this may account for the problems that arose with the sale of a third GSM licence, a process that took at least two years and resulted in a not entirely satisfactory outcome. As most other Middle East markets are becoming totally saturated, Yemen will probably remain of interest as one of the few markets with potential for growth.

1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Country overview
4. Telecommunications market
4.1 Overview of Yemen’s telecom market
5. Regulatory environment
5.1 Regulatory authority
5.2 Telecom sector liberalisation in Yemen
5.3 Privatisation
6. Fixed network operators in Yemen
6.1 TeleYemen/Yemen International Telecommunication Company
6.2 Public Telecommunications Corporation (PTC)
7. Telecommunications infrastructure
7.1 National telecom network
7.2 International infrastructure
8. Broadband and Internet market
8.1 Internet market overview
8.1.1 Internet statistics
8.1.2 Internet access locations
8.2 Broadband market overview
8.2.1 Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
9. Broadcasting
9.1 Overview
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Yemen’s mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Regulatory issues
10.2.1 GSM licences awarded
10.2.2 Third GSM licence
10.3 Major mobile operators
10.3.1 TeleYemen/Yemen Mobile
10.3.2 SabaFon
10.3.3 MTN Yemen
10.3.4 HiTS Unitel
10.4 Mobile voice services
10.4.1 Prepaid
10.4.2 Satellite mobile
10.5 Mobile data services
11. Related reports
Table 1 - Country statistics Yemen - 2008
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2008
Table 3 - Internet user statistics - 2008
Table 4 - Broadband subscribers - 2008
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - 2008
Table 6 - National telecommunications authority
Table 7 - Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2008
Table 8 - Internet user and penetration estimates - 1997 - 2008
Table 9 - Internet subscribers - 2001 - 2008
Table 10 - ADSL subscribers - 2007 - 2008
Table 11 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1998 - 2008
Table 12 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - 2008
Table 13 - SabaFon subscribers and market share - 2004 - 2008
Table 14 - MTN Yemen/Spacetel subscribers and market share - 2004 - 2009
Table 15 - MTN Yemen/Spacetel ARPU per month - 2003 - 2009

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