By Vineetha Menon
Chairman of GSM Arab World reveals regional stats at GSM > 3G Middle East conference
Regional telcos Zain Kuwait and Qtel in Qatar join the list of top 20 global operators that boast an ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) of $50 or more.
This revelation was made by Abdulaziz Ibrahim Fakhroo, chairman of the GSM Arab World, in his welcome address for the 2008 GSM > 3G Middle East conference that’s taking place from 15 – 16 December.
ARPU remains a sensitive issue in the Middle East but some operators are willing to share this information. Fakhroo was keen to point out that other regional operators may also enjoy a strong ARPU but those statistics weren’t made available.
Three regional operators Qtel, Etisalat and Zain in Bahrain also made the global top 20 list for market penetration - Both Qtel and Etisalat achieved a percentage of 100% or more, while Zain in Bahrain is also gaining ground by acquiring more than 70%.
The GSM Association predicts that 34 out of 52 regional GSM operators in Arab countries are expected to adopt 3G.
Presently, Egypt is leading the way with 34 million 3G connections to date.
Actually, you need to compare apples... Zain and Wataniya in Kuwait are a big sham, as they used to charge exhorbitantly for incoming calls, including International ISD calls. Also the normal talk-time charges are amongst the most exhorbitant in the world.Couple this with the prohibitively expensive International calling rates. Its a highly toxic mix of inflating your revenues, as every subscriber is inadvertantly forced into spending several tens of dinars every month. Lets wait and see how their ARPUs perform in 2009 as a third operator has taken the air out of both operators by offering free incoming calls. That will be the real acid test. Finally freedom has arrived for the consumers in Kuwait.
I would agree with Arif Jameel. I guess competition has just started and an end to duopoly. This would definitely benefit the consumers in Kuwait and obviously for the Telco's, it would be a lowering of the ARPU!
Its a real shame for big cellular companies to charge exhobrant price for their services in this fully competetive world to increase ARPU, where almost all companies are slashing down prices.
Fully agree with Mr. Jameel's comments.. these two operators enjoyed a duopoly reaped the benefits unjustly. Now they openly fear Viva the new entrant.. just hoping Viva does not succumb and give in... Can you imagine a mobile tariff system that till date has no off peak and peak differentials.. i suggest learn from Du and etisalat.. they even offer special rates on festive days relevant to expats !! No wonder VOIP calls are illegal phone calls are so rampant here.