By Massoud Derhally
A newly released country report from the Arab Advisors Group maintains that the GSM penetration rates in 2001 exceeded 15% in Jordan. Arab Advisors attributed the growth in the Jordanian telecommunications market to competition between the two GSM operators MobileCom and Fastlink.
A newly released country report from the Arab Advisors Group maintains that the GSM penetration rates in 2001 exceeded 15% in Jordan. Arab Advisors attributed the growth in the Jordanian telecommunications market to competition between the two GSM operators MobileCom and Fastlink.Privatisation of the fixed monopoly operator and the entrance of effective duopoly competition on the GSM front (two moves in line with the country’s commitments to WTO membership) have helped Jordan advance its communications infrastructure and services considerably.The new report “Jordan Communications Projections Report-2002”, by the Arab Advisors Group’s highlights that since its partnership with strategic investor France Telecom, Jordan Telecom has acquired local datacomm operator and ISP Global One and launched subsidiaries MobileCom, e-dimension and Jordan Wide - clear moves to further position itself as an Integrated Communications Services Provider. The operator has worked aggressively to improve its services launching an advanced Customer Care and Billing Service (CCBS) and a number of points of sales to better handle customer needs. “Fixed subscriber penetration has only grown marginally since the privatization of Jordan Telecom. Yearend 2001 penetration stood at 13%, as opposed to 12% in 2000. This is mainly owing to the fixed to mobile substitution apparent in the market due to the competitive pricing of the GSM operators” Arab Advisors Group’s analyst Sarah Alalul , author of the report, said. “The cellular market saw huge growth upon the entrance of the second GSM operator MobileCom in late 2000. The market grew by 462,000 GSM subscribers in 2001. This was close to double the rise in subscribers in 2000 and resulted in more than doubling the GSM penetration rate from less than 7% in 2000 to 15.7% in 2001. This was the year when GSM lines in Jordan exceeded the number of PSTN lines for the first time.” Ms. Aloul added. “The Arab Advisors Group projects PSTN revenues to exceed the US$ 460 million mark by 2006, up from 378.8 million in 2001, while GSM revenues will reach US$ 673 million in 2006 up from US$ 261.8 million in 2001”, Ms. Alalul explained. Competition in the cellular market has been quite aggressive, with Fastlink flooding the market with many postpaid and prepaid packages and undertaking a sophisticated customer care platform as well as fierce marketing and sales campaigns. Its efforts have not gone in vein as Fastlink still commands a majority market share. MobileCom, on the other hand, despite its competitive pricing and distinctively simpler packages (plus the launch of its "Smart" service - a cross between postpaid and prepaid) is still perceived as the poor man's operator.