Arab Advisors Group
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Arab GSM rates: Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?!
Thursday, November 6, 2003

The Arab Advisors Group conducted a full analysis of cellular rates relative to the wealth of the country. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE were revealed to have low cost cellular rates, relative to the examined countries GDP per capita. Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia still have high cost cellular rates, relative to the examined countries GDP per capita. Jordan and Palestine’s rates are fair relative to their GDP per capita. Moreover, the Arab Advisors Group conducted a further analysis of the regional trend line of the cellular rates, and found that many countries still have room for lower rates, while other countries rates are absolutely, not just relatively, low.
A new comprehensive regional trends report, “Cellular Rates in the Arab World: A Regional Comparison” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s (www.arabadvisors.com) Strategic Research Service subscribers on November 5, 2003. The 41-pages report, with 36 detailed exhibits, covers twenty-two mobile operators in fourteen different Arab countries. The countries covered in this report are: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, and UAE. The report fully compares the prevailing cellular service rates across the markets and ranks them accordingly. The report draws conclusions on the level of “fairness” of the prevailing rates relative to the each country’s economic situation. This comprehensive report can be purchased from Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 950. Any investment in this report will count towards a Strategic Research Service subscription should the service be acquired within three months from purchasing the report. Purchasing the report also entails the ability to attend the Arab Advisors Group’s Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference in June 2004 in Amman. Please contact the Arab Advisors Group to receive the report’s Table of Contents.
“The report reveals what we refer to as the “poor man’s Dilemma”.” Sami Sunna’, Arab Advisors Group Senior Research Analyst said about the research. “Quite a few poorer Arab markets have substantially higher rates than much wealthier markets like the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait. Granted, the operators in the gulf markets have achieved massive economies of scale to draw on. Still lower rates will drive usage and economies of scale in the poorer markets” Mr. Sunna’ added.
On the postpaid average minute rates front, the research shows that Morocco and Tunisia have the highest postpaid minute rates, followed by Oman, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Syria, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Egypt, and ending with the lowest average minute rate in the UAE. Naturally, the adoption of per-fractions of the minute billing by some operators, such as Jawwal in Palestine, lowers the actual cost of usage by the subscribers.
“The Rankings change a bit for prepaid minutes cost: Lebanon has the highest rate, followed by Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Qatar, Oman, Tunisia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and ending with the lowest average minute rate in the UAE.” Mr. Sunna’ added.
The report fully analyses the connection rates (prepaid and postpaid), minute rates (prepaid, postpaid, peak and off-peak), SMS and MMS rates, validity periods for prepaid cards and the presence of handset subsidies. The report also factors in the presence of per-fractions of the minute billing in any of the markets in a separate section to address the effect of this more equitable method of billing.
The Arab Advisors Group’s team of analysts in the region has already produced close to 190 reports on the Arab World’s communications and media markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group’s (www.arabadvisors.com) Strategic Research Services (Media and Telecom). To date, Arab Advisors Group has served more than 100 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients.

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