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It is encouraging to see that some governments and operators are now focusing on improving services in the rural areas. In Iran, for example, two of the major operators recently agreed to provide national roaming, with an aim to improve availability to services in rural areas.
Government support is imperative to the growth of telecommunications infrastructure and many countries in the Middle East have strong government backing. In Bahrain, for example, there are a number of developments underway which will improve both telecoms services and infrastructure and it is the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) which is the primary driver behind many of these plans.
Several countries are at the forefront of 5G development at a global level. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular are demonstrating significant progress towards 5G. The UAE for example, has the appropriate infrastructure in place to take advantage of 5G as it boasts one of the world™s highest mobile penetration rates, substantial 4G LTE infrastructure and is considered one of the leaders in the region. It has already allocated spectrum frequencies to Etisalat and Du for 5G deployment use.
The Telecoms Maturity Index (TMI) is used to fuel regional analysis, it provides a unique approach and allows a comprehensive country vs region comparison. This TMI measures and ranks the following 12 countries in the Middle East region including: Bahrain; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
All countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have extremely high mobile penetration.
Many governments and operators have realised that high-speed mobile infrastructure is the key to driving mobile broadband growth and revenues.
A number of recent investments in infrastructure have seen 4G LTE services flourish in many markets.
There are a few countries demonstrating leadership in terms of 5G development in the Middle East – and a number of other countries are also making strategic plans and partnerships in this regard.
While parts of the Middle East are having ongoing civil unrest issues which has stagnated telecoms developments (e.g. Syria, Yemen) – the more stabilised and progressive countries are moving forwards and making significant inroads in developing and progressing mobile infrastructure and mobile broadband services.
Companies mentioned in this report include:
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.
Kylie WansinkApril 2019
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