Umniah to launch 3G services in early 2012

3G network will be rolled out over next two years

Tags: 3GJordanUmniah Mobile Company
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Umniah to launch 3G services in early 2012 Umniah, Jordan's third telecom operator, will join Orange and Zain in offering 3G services.
By  Roger Field Published  June 9, 2011

Umniah, Jordan's third telecom operator, plans to launch 3G services in early 2012, according to its CEO, Ihab Hinnawi.

Hinnawi confirmed that the licence will cost JD50 million ($70 million). Umniah will invest a further $40-$50 million to deploy its 3G network over the next one to two years, he added.

"Definitely it will be early 2012. The licence is there, all we need to do is pay the JD50 million for the 2.1 gigahertz spectrum, which is available, so it is a case of just buying it and then off we can go with the network.

"We are assessing the whole thing...we are just picking the right time," Hinnawi told CommsMEA.

Hinnawi said that consumers will be more ready for 3G services by the time Umniah launches its service. Its competitors, Orange and Zain, launched 3G in March 2010 and March 2011 respectively.

"Strategically we decided not to launch first or second. We understand the market dynamics and the special character of Jordan's consumers, so we are going to launch when we believe the whole market will be at a tipping point," he said.

"Launching too early is not good enough and launching after that point is still not good enough. The three aspects are consumer behaviour, handsets availability and market readiness, where people are educated."

Umniah sees little opportunity for 3G infrastructure sharing with the other operators. "Our network is 3G ready - we have nationwide Edge and we have a WiMAX network as well, so I don't see a major infrastructure sharing on the 3G," Hinnawi added.

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