The MVNOs in the Middle East and North Africa: opportunities, competition and regulation

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Date: 06-Aug-2015
No. of pages: 37
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"The success of MVNOs will depend on the intensity of competition posed by mobile network operators and the presence of clear regulatory frameworks for licensing and ensuring healthy relationships with host networks."

MVNOs are active in only a few countries in the Middle East North and Africa (MENA) region, but there is strong momentum in this sector thanks to major markets such as Saudi Arabia opening up to new entrants. This report assesses the prospects for MVNOs in four countries in the region (Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia).

This strategy report:


  • examines the market segments that MVNOs in the region could target:

  • immigrants, tourists, young adults and retailer discounts

  • assesses the competition that mobile network operators (MNOs) pose in these segments by tracking propositions for international calling, young adults and the overall inclination towards discounted plans

  • analyses the regulatory and wholesale regimes that may enable or constrain the arrival of MVNOs and take-up of MVNO services.

The MVNOs in the Middle East and North Africa: opportunities, competition and regulation

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

MVNOs are relatively new to MENA and their potential impact is uncertain We analyse four countries on three dimensions

Recommendations

Market and segment opportunities

Market and segment opportunities: Immigrants on low incomes and young Arabs are key target segments for MVNOs in MENA
Oman: MVNOs are addressing demand for low-cost international calling and expanding portfolios to include affordable mobile data
Qatar: Low-income foreign workers present an opportunity for MVNOs to offer international calling services
Saudi Arabia: Millions of foreign workers and young Saudis on low incomes have attracted two MVNOs into the market
Tunisia: Segments that appear to be obvious targets will prove challenging for potential MVNO entrants

Competition from MNOs

Competition from MNOs: Opportunities exist, but competition from MNOs is intense and unique value propositions will not be easy to find
Oman: Discount models for locals and international communities succeed as MVNOs and Omantel demarcate their segments
Qatar: MNOs are offering increasingly competitive international rates and Vodafone is addressing the wealthy youth segment
Saudi Arabia: Virgin Mobile offers unique propositions, but Lebara Mobile's international tariff discounts need more distinction
Tunisia: Discount models for locals and international communities succeed as MVNOs and Omantel demarcate their segments

Regulatory and wholesale environment

Regulation and wholesale: Regulators are clarifying the frameworks associated with MVNOs, but work is needed to encourage co-operation
Oman: MVNOs prosper in key segments thanks to a liberal regulatory approach and support from host MNOs
Qatar: The regulator needs to work on a clear framework for MVNOs, if it is to introduce new competition at the service level
Saudi Arabia: The regulator set out strict requirements and has brought experienced MVNOs into the market
Tunisia: Clarification of the regulatory framework and aggressive cuts in termination rates are attracting MVNO candidates

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