Liberalisation benefits customers and markets

Aggressive pricing and a renewed focus on innovative services are the main reasons that mobile subscriptions grow after liberalisation, according to Info2cell.com and Madar Research Group.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  August 24, 2005

Aggressive pricing and a renewed focus on innovative services are the main reasons that mobile subscriptions grow after liberalisation, according to Info2cell.com and Madar Research Group. Following a recent study by Madar that examined four countries in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) that have recently liberalised their mobile telecommunication markets, CEO of Info2cell.com Bashar Dahabra had this to say: “The liberalisation of mobile markets in the Arab world will bring significant benefits to customers in terms of lower rates, better packages, more advanced features and higher quality of services.” Madar’s study focused specifically on the market changes and growth patterns witnessed in Morocco, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain - all of which have moved away from a monopolistic structure in their local mobile sectors. According to Madar’s findings, the freeing up of their respective mobile markets led to a huge increase in market uptake. "The key reasons for the upswing in subscription that follows liberalisation of the mobile sector are the aggressive pricing, branding and marketing strategies adopted by both the existing and new operators, as well as a renewed focus on providing cutting-edge mobile content services in order to widen their subscriber base," Dahabra explained. "Leveraging the power of technology to provide reliable and innovative mobile content services has now assumed paramount importance, considering the ever-increasing popularity of these value-added services as well as the fact that it has become a significant revenue earner for both mobile operators and content providers." Dahabra went on to suggest that mobile users based in the UAE could expect to reap similar benefits after the long awaited second mobile operator enters the market later this year. “The UAE will enjoy an extremely high mobile penetration,” he claimed, “resulting in lower rates and more advanced mobile services.” According to Dahabra, the saturation level for mobile subscription in the UAE could reach as high as 150%, which would make it more than that of any other country in the region. “This could be achieved in a few years' time,” he added, “given the trend among people to keep separate mobiles for personal and business use. In addition to this, the UAE has, at any given time, more visitors in relation to its population than any other country in the region, many of whom subscribe to prepaid mobile services and often keep the SIM cards for future visits." In 2000, the year when a second mobile carrier entered their telecommunication markets, Morocco and Jordan witnessed 683% and 250% increases in their subscriber numbers respectively. Kuwait meanwhile registered a subscription growth of 87% in the year the second mobile carrier entered the market, while Bahrain recorded a 47% rise.

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