Competitor enters Oman mobile market

Nawras intends to focus its initial marketing efforts on quality of service issues, differentiating its service offering from that of Oman Mobile.

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By  Tawanda Chihota Published  March 17, 2005

Oman’s mobile market has witnessed the entry of competition with the launch of a Qatar Telecom/TDC joint venture branded Nawras. The venture marks the first foray outside of Qatar for Qatar Telecom and the first investment in the mobile sector for Danish operator TDC in the region. Reports suggest the two companies are seeking further investments opportunities in the sector together. Oman had a mobile penetration rate of approximately 25% at the end of 2004, representing a total subscriber base of about 800,000. Nawras intends to focus its initial marketing efforts on quality of service issues, differentiating its service offering from that of incumbent operator Oman Mobile. “We have carried out extensive market research into what existing and potential customers like and dislike about the current services. At Nawras, we will take the customer under our wing and create an environment in which communication is hassle-free, intuitive and meaningful,” Nawras CEO Ross Cormack commented. The operator announced three main tariffs at launch - Nawras Ajel, Nawras Mousbak and Nawras MousbakPlus. Nawras Ajel is a post-paid service that offers prices starting at just 19 baisa (US$0.05) per minute and including transparent and itemised billing. Nawras Mousbak is a prepaid service with tariff prices starting at 45 baisa per minute, and a range of services offered without an additional monthly charge including caller identification, picture messaging and voicemail, as well as international roaming. The third tariff is called Nawras MousbakPlus, which is a prepaid plus service in which tariffs are as low as 39 baisa per minute, and is offered complete with the same benefits as those offered on Mousbak. A monthly fee is automatically deducted from the subscriber’s credit and in this way customers benefit from a prepaid service with much lower pricing. Incumbent operator Oman Mobile has been preparing for the entry of competition since the second license was issued to Nawras last June. In September 2004 the operator introduced GPRS services though Nawras appears in a good position to still achieve significant gains in Oman having announced the signing of US$220 million worth of loans to invest in its network deployment.

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