Cellphones to eclipse fixed lines in Middle East

By the end of 2002 the number of cellular subscribers will have exceeded that of mainlines in nine of the 11 Middle East countries examined in a new report.

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By  Richard Brown Published  October 23, 2002

By the end of 2002 the number of cellular subscribers will have exceeded that of mainlines in nine of the 11 Middle East countries examined in a new report.

In Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, the number of cellular subscribers will have exceeded that of mainlines by the end of this year, according to the study by Arab Advisors Group.

Entitled ‘A comparative analysis of the cellular and mainlines markets in the Arab World’, the report looks at the telecoms markets of 11 Middle Eastern countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the UAE.

The fixed line markets in all 11 countries continue to be monopolistic, whereas six of the countries have duopolies in the mobile market (Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco and Syria).

“Between the years 1998 and 2001, the total number of cellular subscribers in the eleven examined countries was lower than that of mainlines. However, the total number of cellular subscribers is expected to exceed that of mainlines by 2002. By the end of 2002 the number of cellular subscribers will have exceeded that of mainlines in nine of the 11 examined countries (Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE).” Arab Advisors Group’s analyst Shahin Shahin wrote in the report.

The report features the Market Share Index, calculated by dividing the share of total subscribers in each country by the share of total population of each country from the total population of the eleven countries. The higher the score the better the development status of the market, penetration wise. A score of less than 1 indicates some underdevelopment in the market.

On the Cellular Market Share Index, the UAE was first by a wide margin with a score of 5.38. Bahrain was second with a score of 3.98, followed by Kuwait (3.87), Qatar (2.72), Lebanon (1.88), Morocco (1.52), Jordan (1.46), Oman (1.2), Saudi Arabia (1.12), Egypt (0.51) and Syria (0.1).

As for the Mainline Market Share Index, the UAE also topped the ranks with a score of 2.96. Second was Qatar (2.54), Bahrain (2.3), Lebanon (2.04), Kuwait (1.95), Saudi Arabia (1.42), Jordan (1.19), Syria (0.98), Egypt (0.93), Oman (0.85), and Morocco (0.35).

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