By Andy Sambidge
New study says newcomer to sector has exceeded expectations on subscribers.
Kuwait's mobile phone newcomer Viva is thought to have exceeded expectations on subscribers during its first year in operation, a new report has said.
The Gulf state's mobile telecoms market grew by 12 percent in the first half of this year, with the arrival late in 2008 of Saudi Telecom's Kuwait unit seen as one of the biggest factors behind the growth, Business Monitor International added.
The research house said that since Viva's launch in December, it had grabbed about 10 percent of the country's mobile market from the two more established players Zain and Wataniya, a unit of Qatar's Qtel.
"Growth in the first half of 2009 was significantly higher than at any time in the previous year," BMI's report said, adding: "One of the biggest factors behind the upsurge in Kuwaiti mobile customer growth has been the launch of commercial services by Saudi Telecom’s Kuwaiti mobile business Viva."
The report added that although Viva’s CEO previously stated that its goal was to attract 300,000 subscribers within its first year of operations, the operator already appears to have exceeded this target.
BMI predicted that by the end of the year, it saw that mobile phone penetration in Kuwait reaching 122 percent, up from 110 percent in mid-2009.
"Continued growth over and above 100 percent reflects the prevalence of multiple SIM owners in the country’s mobile market. Our forecast also accounts for a certain number of inactive prepaid users within the sector," the report added.