Syrian Internet services to fetch $30 million in revenues by 2006
Syria’s Internet subscribers are projected to grow by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 43 percent between 2001 and 2006 to reach 180,000 subscribers. Internet users will reach 630,000, a user penetration rate of 3.17 percent by 2006, according to a newly released report from the Arab Advisors Group. Syria’s Internet access service is thus predicted to fetch $30 million in revenues in 2006, up from $3.25 million in 2001. The report asserts that despite recent growth, Syria’s Internet market remains one of the least developed amongst the major Arab markets.
The Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE) reports that within a month it will announce the winner for the Public Data Network (PDN) tender from a range of interested regional and international companies. The awarded contractor will supply, install and operate the infrastructure for PDN, Internet backbone infrastructure as well as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) with the spare parts needed for a period of five years from the issuance of the contract. The plan is to follow the Internet model of Saudi Arabia where the STE will run and control the infrastructure while allowing private ISPs to operate servers and marketing.
“The Saudi model essentially serves to filter and block information and accessibility to certain websites that the Syrian government deems improper. The STE would assign a mother ISP to act as a reseller and gateway for smaller ISPs, by providing them with connections, data services, sharing and allocation of ports and bandwidth.” Sarah Alalul, Arab Advisors Group analyst wrote in the report. “If the Saudi model is followed in its entirety, the STE would also be responsible for qualifying and licensing ISPs, connecting ISPs and universities with Internet and preparing regulations to govern the use of Internet in Syria in coordination with government policy,” she added.
One of the report’s conclusions was that Syria’s Internet market may not grow optimally because of the adoption of the Saudi-like Internet setup. “Syria’s Internet account penetration stood at a very low 0.17 percent by yearend 2001, if we count the local subscribers and not those who connect through ISPs in neighboring Lebanon” Alalul noted. “Because of the proposed setup, Internet service will be the core business for the private ISPs but will be a marginal business for the STE. This asymmetry of importance could stifle the growth in the market as the STE may not allocate the highest priority to Internet infrastructure investments,” she explained. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)