Arab Advisors Group
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Libya's telecommunications market is lagging behind!
Sunday, September 8, 2002

A newly released report from the Arab Advisors Group overviews the Libyan communications market, and sheds some light on the General Post and Telecom Company (GPTC), the national operator and regulator for all the telecommunications services in Libya.

September 8, 2002 -

The telecommunications sector in Libya is not a very impressive market. It has low penetration rates with scarce attractive offers and packages. With impressive developments elsewhere in the region, Libya's market is lagging behind.

The General Post and Telecom Company (GPTC), is the national operator and regulator for all the telecommunications services in Libya. The operator was established in 1984 under Law 16. GPTC provides international and local voice services, digital leased lines, telex, fax, mobile (through a partially owned subsidiary) and Internet services. The GPTC's network was entirely digitalized in 2000.

A new research note entitled "An overview of Libya's communications market: Operating well below its optimal level!", was released to the Arab Advisors Group's ( Strategic Research Service subscribers on September 05, 2002. The research note shows that, as a government entity, GPTC has no administrative and financial autonomy. There are no clear government policies for the development and liberalization of the telecommunications sector yet.

"The cellular market in the country is very immature. The GSM subscriber base reached only 50,000 by yearend 2001, a penetration rate of 1%. Reasons for the low number of subscribers in Libya include the late launch of the service in the country, high rates and charges, low promotion and expansion by the operator, lack of prepaid service and attractive packages and plans." Arab Advisors Group's analyst Hala Baqain, noted.

"Libya has a relatively low fixed line penetration rate. The number of fixed lines grew at a CAGR of 9.7% between the years 1998 to 2001 and reached 660,000 subscribers yearend 2001, a penetration rate of 12%. The GPTC had a waiting list of 80,000 lines in 2000 and the average waiting time is 1.2 years, this reflects the somewhat low service quality provided by the monopoly operator in Libya especially when compared to other operators such as Bahrain's monopoly operator, Batelco, which has no waiting list and where the installation time is only 10 working days. Another reason for the low penetration maybe the big geographical area of the country, which makes it more difficult and not very cost effective to cover the whole country and meet demand in remote areas." Ms. Baqain added.

The Research note lays a comparison between the Libyan telecommunications market and other markets around the region, Libya has low penetration rates when compared with countries that have similar and even much lower GDP per capita such as Jordan and Lebanon. Libya has no or little obstacles when it comes to the subscriber's cost barriers since its GDP per capita is comparatively high. This again supports the fact that the monopoly operator is being too idle in increasing its subscriber base, which is mainly spurred by the lack of competition, as well as a lack of drive for more profits on the part of the monopoly operators.

The Arab Advisors Group's team of analysts in the region has already produced more than 110 reports on the Arab World's communications markets. Following are, comprehensive reports on Tunisia's communications markets and Jordan and Qatar's datacommunications markets will be out shortly. 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 60 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients.

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