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Yemen - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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Growth opportunities in a developing market

Yemen is very much the poorest country in the Middle East with approximately 39% of the population living below the poverty line. Yemen’s economic difficulties are exacerbated by declining oil production which accounts for a significant proportion of the economy and recent political unrest.

Yemen’s telecom sector is representative of the growth opportunities that abound in such a developing market. Fixed lines subscriptions are increasing, with a penetration rate of less than 5% indicating significant room for growth. Given that over 60% of the population lives in rural areas a significant amount of fixed line investment has been in the form of wireless local loops based on a variety of technologies. In addition the incumbent has invested in core and transmission network infrastructure to expand bandwidth and to support the ability to offer new products and services.

Broadband Internet subscribers are growing steadily but from a very small base, with services available via ADSL. Internet cafes are a popular Internet access method given low PC ownership. Despite challenges such as low PC penetration and illiteracy Yemen has launched a number of digital economy initiatives centred on e-government, e-education and e-health. Social network sites such as Facebook are growing in popularity and have been credited with allowing protestors to organise the recent anti government protests.

Mobile telecoms continues to be the big success story in Yemen. Steady growth has seen penetration rates rise to over 40%. Competition is healthy with four mobile network operators offering services. Foreign investors include regional mobile operators Batelco of Bahrain and MTN of South Africa. Attracting investment is Yemen’s low mobile penetration, the lowest in the Middle East. Yemen’s mobile data market is also in the nascent stages of development, with mobile messaging and mobile Internet access offered. The latter has the potential to develop into a significant market given the lack of competition in the fixed broadband market and low PC penetration.

As most other Middle East markets are becoming totally saturated, Yemen will remain of interest as one of the few markets with potential for growth.

Key telecom parameters – 2010; 2012
Sector | 2010 | 2012

Subscribers to telecoms services (million):

Fixed Broadband | 0.08 | 0.20
Fixed-line telephony | 1.0 | 1.1
Mobile phone | 11.1 | 12.2
(Source: BuddeComm)

Companies covered in this report include:

TeleYemen, Public Telecommunications Corporation (PTC), Yemen General Corporation for Radio and Television (YGCRT), Yemen Mobile, SabaFon, MTN Yemen, Y Telecom.

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Yemen’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors.

Subjects include:

Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
Facts, figures and statistics;
Industry and regulatory issues;
Infrastructure;
Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU;
Internet;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Broadband;
Convergence and digital media;
Broadband subscriber forecasts to 2020;


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 access market
8.1 Overview
8.2 Internet and broadband statistics
8.3 Broadband subscriber forecasts
8.3.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
8.4 Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
8.5 Wireless Broadband
9. Digital economy
9.1 E-education
9.2 E-government
9.3 E-health
10. Digital broadcasting
10.1 Overview
11. Mobile communications
11.1 Overview of Yemen’s mobile market
11.1.1 Mobile statistics
11.2 Mobile subscriber forecasts
11.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher growth
11.2.2 Scenario 2 – lower growth
11.2.3 Notes on scenario forecasts
11.3 Regulatory issues
11.3.1 GSM licences awarded
11.3.2 Third GSM licence
11.4 Major mobile operators
11.4.1 TeleYemen/Yemen Mobile
11.4.2 SabaFon
11.4.3 MTN Yemen
11.4.4 HiTS Unitel/Y Telecom
11.5 Mobile voice services
11.5.1 Prepaid
11.5.2 Satellite mobile
11.6 Mobile Data
11.6.1 Mobile Messaging
12. Related reports
List of Tables and Charts
Table 1 – Country statistics Yemen – 2011
Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Fixed broadband subscribers - 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012
Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
Table 7 – GDP growth and inflation – 2005 - 2013
Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2012
Table 9 – Internet user and penetration estimates – 1997 - 2012
Table 10 – Households with Internet access – 2004 - 2012
Table 11 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2005 – 2012
Table 12 – Household PC penetration – 2005 - 2012
Table 13 – International Internet bandwidth – 2005 – 2011
Table 14 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher growth scenario – 2012, 2015; 2020
Table 15 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower growth scenario – 2012, 2015; 2020
Table 16 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1998 - 2012
Table 17 – Forecast mobile subscribers in Yemen – higher growth scenario – 2012; 2020
Table 18 – Forecast mobile subscribers in Yemen – lower growth scenario – 2012; 2020
Table 19 – SabaFon subscribers and market share – 2004 - 2012
Table 20 – MTN Yemen subscribers – 2004 - 2012
Table 21 – MTN Yemen ARPU per month – 2003 - 2012
Table 22 – Prepaid subscribers – 2007 – 2012
Table 23 – Total SMS messages sent – 2007 - 2012
Chart 1 – Yemen fixed-line and mobile subscribers – 2000 – 2012

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