Saudi telco market named most competitive in Arab world

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Saudi Arabia has the most competitive mobile phone market in the Arab world, according to a new report.

The Arab Advisors Group's Cellular Competition Intensity Index 2013 ranked the Gulf kingdom as number one, with Jordan and Palestine second and third.

Saudi Arabia topped with a score of 76.58 percent while the least competitive market was Lebanon with 40.71 percent.

In the Gulf, Oman was deemed the second most competitive telecoms market, followed by Bahrain and Kuwait.

The UAE was ranked the second least competitive telecoms market where Etisalat and du compete against each other while Qatar - with Ooredoo and Vodafone Qatar - gained the lowest score of 47.67 percent.

The Cellular Competition Intensity Index is relative in nature as it compares the state of every market relative to other markets.

As such, even if a market's absolute level of competition improved, its score will also depend on how other markets developed.

The 2013 index results revealed that five countries ranked higher than last year - Iraq, Bahrain, Sudan, Mauritania and Libya.

A total of six countries ranked lower compared to the 2012 index - Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria and Lebanon, with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Yemen, Kuwait, UAE and Qatar maintaining their 2012 ranking.

The index takes into account the number of operators, packages, and services available in each of the 19 countries covered by the Arab Advisors Group.

The categories include the number of licensed and expected MNOs in 2013, number of working operators, market share of largest operator, number of prepaid plans, number of postpaid plans, availability of smart phone plans, availability of corporate offers, availability of 3G services and the availability of operational ILD (International Long Distance) competition.

Mohammed Al-Shawwa, Arab Advisors Group research manager, said: "Saudi Arabia maintained its rank as the most competitive cellular market in the Arab World for the third consecutive year.

"The country hosts four operational and licensed mobile network operators, in addition to one MVNO. Saudi Arabia's score benefited from the availability of smart phone plans, corporate offers, 3G services and ILD competition."

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