Arab Advisors Group
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The Qatari communications market manifests all the hallmarks of a monopoly market. It also can easily support expected competition in and after 2005!
Monday, September 2, 2002

A newly released country report from the Arab Advisors Group fully analyzes the Qatari communications market and its monopoly operator Q-Tel. The report shows that Q-Tel is not an operator to let a good monopoly go to waste, but that consumers will be better served when some level of liberalization settles into the small and rich gulf state in and after 2005.

September 2, 2002 -

Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel), Qatar's publicly traded and monopoly telecom operator, solely provides fixed, mobile, Internet and datacomm services to the small rich gulf state. By end of year 2001, Q-Tel had 167,446 landlines and 177,929 Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) connections, translating into penetration rates of 27% and 29% respectively.

A new report "Qatar Communications Projections Report-2002", was released to the Arab Advisors Group's ( Strategic Research Service subscribers on August 31, 2002. The report shows that despite regionally impressive penetration levels, the Qatari market is below its true potential when compared to the penetration levels in neighboring UAE and Bahrain.

"The average monthly revenue per user for PSTN service in Qatar stood at US$ 122 in 2001 with the bulk of it coming from international long distance (ILD) service. GSM service's monthly ARPU stood at US$ 60 in the same year. The high ARPU's, and relatively high penetration rates, reflect the inherent price insensitivity of the rich market to essential telecom services. While Q-Tel did reduce ILD rates recently, the partially privatized operator is savvy enough to fully leverage its monopoly status; its net profit margin in 2001 was a full 56% of revenues. For example, GSM prepaid service in Qatar was only launched in 2000, six years after the launch of the GSM service in the country. This manifests the comfort that the monopoly situation avails to Q-Tel" Arab Advisors Group's analyst Sami Sunna', author of the report, noted.

The 41 pages report, which includes 34 detailed exhibits on the market, shows that that there is a strong potential in the Qatari market when it comes to the GSM, Internet and datacomm services. These services will provide interested parties with an incentive to enter into the Qatari telecommunication market once liberalization matures, which is expected to materialize in 2005. With this in mind, the Arab Advisors Group projects Qatar's cellular subscribers to grow by a CAGR of 21.4% between 2001 and 2006 to reach a penetration rate of 70%.

The Arab Advisors Group's team of analysts in the region has already produced more than 108 reports on the Arab World's communications markets. Following the report on Qatar, comprehensive reports on Bahrain and Tunisia 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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