Umniah prepares to launch in June

Jordan’s mobile penetration rate is estimated at around 25% and Dagher believes this will grow to reach 50-55% within the next 5-7 years.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  March 13, 2005

Jordan’s third GSM operator Umniah Mobile Company intends to offer coverage of up to 92% of Jordan’s population when it launches in “early summer,” according to Michael Dagher, managing partner at the company. “Our license calls for national roaming and sharing of sites. National roaming is under discussion right now, though we don’t think we’ll need it considering our (own) coverage plans from the first day of operations,” Dagher commented. Jordan’s mobile penetration rate is estimated at around 25% and Dagher believes this will grow to reach 50-55% within the next 5-7 years. He estimates that his company will invest up to US$350 million in network deployment over that period, with the operator gaining a proportionate market share over that period. “The Jordanian government will reap benefits of US$600 million in the next 5-7 years as a result of this investment,” Dagher forecasts. The main shareholders in Umniah include Dagher in his personal capacity, together with the Fouad Al Ghanem and Sons Group of Companies, a company based in Kuwait. The licensee’s strategic partners are Chinese equipment vendor Huawei Technologies and Hewlett Packard, which has been awarded a contract to supply Umniah with the IT infrastructure required to build its business support system. Dagher has significant knowledge of the Jordanian mobile market having previously held the position of chief executive officer at market leader Fastlink. He believes that an opportunity exists in the market to offer innovative services at an “attractive price,” with one such innovation being the offer of 2.75G services across the entire network.

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