Mobile tariffs in Arab countries 80% higher than OECD
Study also find price of broadband in region is three times higher than Europe
Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has just released a benchmarking study for telecommunications services, which revealed that average mobile tariffs in Arab countries are 80 - 100% higher than the average in Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries including Australia, Canada, UK and USA.
The TRA commissioned independent consulting firm Teligen to conduct the study on behalf of the Arab Regulators Network (AREGNET). They compared prices for fixed voice, mobile, leased lines and broadband services within and between 22 Arab countries, as well as with the 30 OECD countries.
"Generally prices in Arab countries have gone down, most with Broadband services. But since prices have gone down in other parts of the world as well the gap between prices in Arab countries and prices in OECD / European countries remains," the study states.
It found that mobile tariffs in most Arab countries are above the OECD average, and the price of broadband in the region is three times higher than the European average.
In terms of leased line services, prices for high speed circuits in Arab countries are also generally higher than in OECD countries. It the same story with fixed voice telephony, where prices are on average higher in Arab countries than in OECD countries, especially international call charges.
"International calls out of the Arab countries are 4-5 times as expensive as the OECD countries on average, and even the cheapest Arab country is 11 times more expensive than the 'best in class' OECD country. However, this is an improvement from previous year," the report reads.
Bahrain's TRA used the study to highlight developments in the kingdom, stating that fixed voice tariffs compare well with other countries in the region and OECD countries, with mobile operators also "doing well", demonstrating the benefits of competition.
Broadband prices in Bahrain have come down up to 50% over the last two years, with the TRA adding that "there is still room for improvement when compared to European benchmarks".
However leased lines has been identified as "an area where improvements are required in order to ensure Bahrain remains an attractive business location with competitively priced services for business users."