Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/10/2014 -- Qatar's telecoms industry is among the highest value in the world, with ARPUs supported by high incomes. The fixed-line, broadband and mobile sectors all recorded subscriptions growth in 2013, on the back of strong competition on price and quality of services between incumbent operator Ooredoo and Vodafone. However, with the mobile penetration now above 170%, we expect telecoms operators to increase their focus on higher value data and converged services for the enterprise and consumer markets in order to sustain revenue growth over the long term. Combined with strong government support for the development of next generation broadband networks, as well as its determination to transform Doha into a smartcity, BMI has a positive long-term growth outlook for Qatar's telecoms market.
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- The mobile market grew 19.4% y-o-y to 3.722mn subscriptions in 2013.
- Market weighted average ARPU depreciated by 7.2% y-o-y to QAR131 in 2013.
- The fixed-line market grew by 3.1% in 2013.
- The fixed broadband market grew by 14.4% in 2013.
Qatar remained in third position on our RRR table this quarter, despite a 3-point drop in its aggregate score to 59.8. The decline was largely attributable to the move into a new five-year forecast period ending in 2018, leading to a lower average annual growth forecast as the mobile market approaches saturation. Qatar still scores above the regional average in all four categories of our ratings table, including the second highest score in the Country Risks category after Saudi Arabia, which reflects a strong private consumption growth outlook.
Qatar's telecoms regulator, ictQatar, announced two important developments during the first three months of 2014. In February, ictQatar finalised the new radio spectrum frequency licensing framework, which is expected to allow the regulator greater flexibility in licensing radio spectrum in order to ensure efficient use of limited resources, as well as increase transparency in the spectrum allocation process. In January, the regulator published new guidelines on advertising, sales and information transparency for telecoms operators in the country. As per the guidelines, the operators must ensure that their promotional or advertising activities have no misleading, untruthful or inaccurate information. The guidelines have also directed the operators to avoid unfair criticism or comparison of a competitor or its services. At the time of writing, the regulator had already acted on the new legislation to suspend Ooredoo's 4G advertising campaign.
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