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Lebanon and Morocco most costly telco markets

Arab Advisors Group reveals Lebanon to be the most expensive pre-paid mobile market in the Middle East

Lebanon has emerged as the most expensive Arab country in which to make pre-paid mobile phone calls, while operators in Morocco had the highest average cost of prepaid cellular minutes, according to a report from Arab Advisors Group.

The report, which was released shortly after Lebanese operators MTC Touch and Alfa said they would cut their rates in line with a government plan to increase mobile penetration, analysed the cellular tariffs for 46 mobile operators in 19 Arab countries.

The report found that operators in Egypt and Yemen offered customers the best value for money, boasting the region’s lowest average prepaid minute rate and average postpaid minute rate respectively.

Jordan-based Arab Advisors Group analysed the cellular rates throughout the Middle East and in African countries including Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia. In order to allow for comparisons, the report focused on the average cellular rates of the countries’ 46 mobile operators.

The report also noted a shift in the billing methods being used by the region’s operators, with a move away from per minute billing – which tends to reap operators the most money – to charging by the second or fractions of a minute.

“Increased competition in Arab cellular markets is driving operators into adopting billing per second or fractions of a minute,” said Faten Bader, senior research analyst, Arab Advisors Group.

To calculate the average cellular rates for the report, Arab Advisors Group used a simple average for all relevant packages and offers in each market. The average peak and off peak minute rates in the report include the tariffs for on net and off net traffic. The report also covered the airtime billing methods that the operators used.