Arab Advisors Group
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The Arab World's GSM and PSTN revenues reached US$ 15 billion in 2002 .
Tuesday, June 17, 2003

A new report from the Arab Advisors Group analyzes and ranks twenty-two fixed and mobile operators in thirteen different Arab countries. The report focuses on the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of these operators, which include market shares, addressable markets, penetration rates, post-paid/prepaid ratios, ARPUs, revenues, EBITDA % and net profit margins. June 17, 2003 - The fixed markets in the Arab countries are still dominated by monopoly operators. These operators in the region are threatened by the increasing trend towards " fixed to mobile migration or substitution". A study of twelve Arab fixed operators shows that the total number of mainlines exceeded 20.69 million by yearend 2002, a combined penetration rate of 10.6%. Telecom Egypt served the largest number of lines. Saudi Telecommunications Company, Telecom Egypt and Etisalat generated the highest PSTN revenues among the examined operators. The mobile market in the Arab World is overriding the PSTN market. By end of year 2002, the total number of cellular subscribers for nineteen mobile operators exceeded 22.2 million subscribers, a combined penetration rate of 11.45%. The bulk of the cellular subscribers belonged to Saudi Telecommunications Company, Maroc Telecom and Etisalat, where the three together had more than 50% of the total mobile subscriber base for all the examined operators. The average GSM monthly ARPU for the fifteen examined mobile operators was US$ 43 in 2002 with a median of US$ 46. Saudi Telecom, one again, had the highest monthly ARPU in 2002. A new comprehensive trends report, "A Key Performance Indicators Scorecard of Arab Telecom Operators." was released to the Arab Advisors Group's ( Strategic Research Service subscribers on June 16, 2003. The 32-pages report covers the fixed and mobile operators in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria and UAE. It includes 31 exhibits that compare and contrast the situation of the different operators in their respective markets. This comprehensive report can be purchased from Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 750. 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. The report's Table of Contents can be obtained by sending an email to the Arab Advisors Group. The new report also highlights the liberalization and privatization timelines set and expected for these countries. "The Arab Advisors Group has been closely researching and analyzing the Arab World's telecommunications scene for close to three years already. This places us in a unique situation where we can spot trends, compare countries and add value to the whole industry". Jawad Abbassi, Arab Advisors Group's President, said. "This new report covers the Integrated Communications Providers (ICPs) in the region such as Batelco, Etisalat, Saudi Telecommunications Company, Maroc Telecom, Algerie Telecom, Tunisie Telecom, Jordan Telecom and Q-Tel. It also covers the operators that just offer fixed services as well as the mobile pure players. These include Telecom Egypt, MobiNil, Vodafone Egypt, MTC Vodafone, Wataniya Telecom, Fastlink, Ogero, Jawwal, Meditel, SyriaTel, SpaceTel, Syria Telecom Establishment, Tunisiana, OTA Djezzy GSM. Essentially, this report is one stop shop for anyone interested in benchmarking the performance of the Arab World's major service providers". Mr. Abbassi added. "The thirteen covered countries have a total population that exceeds 198 million. Their GDP per capita ranges from US$ 1000 to a very high US$ 28,310 which underlines the great diversities, and sometimes disparities, that exist between Arab countries". Hala Baqain, Arab Advisors Senior Research Analyst and the author of the report stated. "The highest PSTN penetration rate is in the UAE and Qatar at 31% and 29% respectively. The relatively low PSTN penetration rates in the region, when compared to global standards, do not necessarily indicate that the markets are under-served. This is due to the fact that the average family size in the Arab countries is usually high, around 6 per household, which translates into respectable household penetration rates. For example, Qatar, Bahrain and the UAE had 100% household penetration or more by 2002". Ms. Baqain added. On the mobile front, the report shows that Morocco and Palestine are the Arab prepaid markets with prepaid subscribers constituting more than 90% of the total subscriber base. In Kuwait, Watanyia Telecom has a very high prepaid subscribers ratio (94%) while its competitor MTC Vodafone's prepaid subscribers made up 59% of its total customer base. MTC's Vodafone's net profit margin was a massive 57% in the same year. Saudi Telecom company's GSM revenues in 2002 stood at 46% of the total GSM revenues of the 15 examined GSM operators. The report also examines the announced 3G plans for the examined GSM operators. The Arab Advisors Group's team of analysts in the region has already produced more than 160 reports on the Arab World's communications markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group's ( Strategic Research Service. To date, Arab Advisors Group has served more than 70 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients.

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