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Telecom sector to witness many changes in 2017
Source: http://omanobserver.om/telecom-sector-witness-many-changes-2017/
Source Date: Sunday, November 13, 2016
Focus: Internet Governance
Country: Oman (Sultanate of)
Created: Nov 13, 2016

Changes in regulatory framework and entry of a third mobile network operator are expected to bring many changes in Oman’s telecom market in 2017. This is in addition to the impact of the oil price malaise on the consumer and enterprise spending behaviour. “A set of substantial changes in the regulatory framework including the introduction of a third mobile network operator, the new access and interconnection regulation and the new telecom law are expected to come into effect in 2017.

“This will alter the competitive forces in the market”, said Sultan Hamdoon al Harthy, Chairman of Omantel Board of Directors.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has already finalised the procedures for the licensing of a third national telecoms operator, with the aim of improving the market’s competitive environment.

The continuous evolution of over-the-top (OTT) players in the domains of voice, messaging and content puts pressure on the capacity for telecom operators to continue their current levels of investment, Al Harthy said in the third quarter financial results and outlook report of Omantel.

“Combined, these market dynamics will likely pose challenges for the growth opportunities”, he said.

At the same time, the explosion of video services continues to be the key driver for a growing broadband market, he pointed out in the report.

Omantel, which is the primary service provider in the country, has already started its own IPTV solutions, further driving broadband speed and bandwidth demand, both for mobile and fixed services.

The mobile network market share including mobile resellers of Omantel is estimated at 58.2 per cent with a revenue share of 59.3 per cent.

The fixed telephone, both post and pre-paid, market share is estimated at 73.5 per cent with a revenue market share of 82.8 per cent.

The total domestic subscriber base as of September 2016 including mobile and fixed businesses has reached 3.326 million excluding mobile resellers compared to 3.383 million of the corresponding period of the previous year.

However, total subscriber base

with mobile resellers reached 4.453 million.

Oman is home to two fixed telephony and mobile network operators, majority state-owned Omantel and Ooredoo Oman, in which Qatari incumbent Ooredoo holds a 55 per cent stake.

In addition, two mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) — FRiENDi, which was acquired by Integrated Telecommunications Oman (TeO) in mid-2016 and Renna Mobile — are active in the wireless sector, while Awasr Oman is the latest company to enter the fixed broadband market, providing services over the fibre-optic network of state-owned infrastructure firm Oman Broadband Company.

According to reports, Ooredoo Oman expected to have over 100,000 households with access to its fiber to the home network by the end of 2016.

By 2040, Oman Broadband Company hopes to have all homes and businesses connected to its national broadband infrastructure.
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