Jordan's liberal telcos

Jordan’s telecoms market is leading the Middle East in liberalisation, but still has several important issues to deal with, says a report out today.

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By  Eliot Beer Published  October 18, 2005

Jordan’s telecoms market is leading the Middle East in liberalisation, but still has several important issues to deal with, says a report out today. The Arab Advisors Group report says Jordan is a pioneer in the region in full market liberalisation. The country’s telecoms market was opened up fully on January 2005, and so far the regulator has granted 29 licences, including two individual licences for former monopoly holder Jordan Telecom, and Batelco-Jordan. But the report also says Jordan’s fixed line penetration rate is poor, and much of the population lacks basic telephone services. “In 2002, the household penetration rate declined to 50% down from 57% in 2001,” says Saif Nimry, an analyst with Arab Advisors, in the report. “This underlines the fact that many businesses had disguised their lines as residential lines to get lower subscription rates. “It also underlines the fact that a significant portion of the population lacks a basic PSTN (public switched telephone network) service. The decline in household penetration rate was mainly due to the increasing trend of the Fixed–to-Mobile traffic migration and substitution.” One reason for this low penetration is the proliferation of mobile services in the country, according to the report. There are now four mobile cellular network operators in Jordan, and the report projects a combined growth rate for all four of 46% for 2005, and expects a 57% mobile penetration rate by 2009. The 99-page report, titled “Jordan Communications Projections Report 2005”, is available from Arab Advisors now. The company has produced more than 430 reports in its lifetime.

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