Saudi Arabia is the Arab world’s most competitive cellular market

The Arab Advisors Group released the results of its Cellular Competition Intensity Index 2011 this month on the margin of the 8th annual Media and Telecoms Convergence Conference in Amman on June 6 & 7 2011. The index ranks Saudi Arabia as the most competitive Arab cellular market. Jordan came in second, followed by Palestine.

The Cellular Competition Intensity Index results for April 2011 revealed that Saudi Arabia tops the score as the most competitive Arab market- with a 76.01% mark followed by:
Jordan (75.37%)
Palestine (69.61%)
Oman (69.52%)
Egypt (68.18%)
Morocco (64.72%)
Iraq (64.32%)
Tunisia (63.23%)
Bahrain (61.25%)
Algeria (61.17%)
Yemen (58.61%)
Mauritania (57.07%)
Sudan (55.68%)
Kuwait (54.58%)
Qatar (48.24%)
UAE (47.17%)
Syria (42.18%)
Libya (33.97%)
and finally Lebanon (33.80%)

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 in this relative index will also depend on how other markets developed.

The 2011 index results revealed that four countries ranked higher than their May 2010 index ranks, these are:
Algeria
Bahrain
Saudi Arabia
and Mauritania.

Meanwhile, a total of three countries ranked lower compared to May 2010 index, namely:
Jordan
Sudan
Yemen.

The remaining twelve countries of Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia and UAE maintained their May 2010 ranks.

The Arab Advisors Group devised the Cellular Competition Intensity Index to rate and to examine the intensity level of competition in the Arab World’s cellular markets.

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.

Each category was assigned a certain weight according to its importance as an indicator of competition.

The categories include the following:
• Number of licensed and expected operators in 2011
• 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 ILD (International Long Distance) competition

A new report, Competition Levels in Arab Cellular Markets was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Telecoms Strategic Research Service subscribers in May 2011.

Zain is the main sponsor of the conference; Qualcomm, Arabsat, Motorola, Umniah, Ericsson, Orange and Oracle are among the companies who are sponsoring the event.

“The Arab Advisors Group added the “Smart phones packages availability” indicator for the 2011 index. This came in line with the increased adoption of mobile broadband and smart phone usage in the MENA region which contributes to the overall competiveness in the country.” Mrs. Faten Bader, Arab Advisors Group senior research analyst commented.

“Saudi Arabia hosts four operational and licensed operators. Consumers have a choice of nineteen prepaid plans and twenty three postpaid plans. Saudi Arabia’s score benefited from the availability of smart phone plans, corporate offers, 3G services and ILD competition.” Ms. Zeena Al Borgan, Arab Advisors Group senior research analyst added.

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