Leading industry analyst and forecaster, BIS Shrapnel, has launched its Jordan Telecommunications Market, 2005 report. This unique analysis of the mobile communications industry by BIS Shrapnel forecasts the number of handset shipped to Jordan by the end of 2005 to reach 1.5 million units (including re-export). The mobile handset market is expected to continue exhibiting phenomenal growth out to 2008, with the value of handsets shipped into Jordan anticipated to reach US$479 million (in wholesale prices, including re-export). The cellular revenue growth rate in Jordan during the period 2000 to 2004 is on par with Saudi Arabia, and four-times that of United Arab Emirates and Israel, according to BIS Shrapnel research. Report author, Mr Wisam Francis explains Jordan’s geographic location, and the abolition of import tax on mobile handsets in mid-2003 (the import tax was replaced with a 4 per cent tax on call tariffs), has made it a transit route for mobile handsets destined for countries such as Syria, Palestine and Iraq. These factors have a significant impact on the number of mobile handsets imported into Jordan. The tax exemption and the imminent launch of the fourth mobile network operator’s service, ‘Umniah’, consequently had a significant impact on the size of the Jordanian mobile handset market and shipments. As a result, the number of handsets shipped to Jordan increased by a staggering 43 per cent in 2004. The figure for 2005 is expected to grow by a further 50 per cent. The rise is also due to the growth in the re-export market which jumped from an average 21 per cent of the total shipment in 2003, to an average 34 per cent of the total shipment in 2004. Extensive market research carried out for the Jordan Telecommunications Market, 2005 study incorporated comprehensive interviews with most network operators and importers, as well as network dealers, retailers and the general public. Mr Francis estimates that the number of mobile subscribers in Jordan will reach 4.5 million at the end of 2008. Current (September 2005) statistical information indicates a significant 41 per cent of Jordanians currently subscribe to a mobile phone service. This is a massive increase from the 8 per cent and 28 per cent penetration rate at the end of 2000 and 2004 respectively. The Jordanian government has put great effort into expanding, modernising, and improving the efficiency of its telecommunications infrastructure over the past decade. Mr Francis explains that Jordan’s telecommunication sector has been transformed from a monopolised and weak structure which barely managed to service its market, to one that is fully liberalised, highly competitive and efficient. Benefits seen by consumers so far include greater choice of providers and service options, enhanced customer service, and an overall reduction in tariffs. Due to government budget constraints, much of this transformation has been carried out through the privatisation of the telecoms sector. The major vendors in Jordan’s mobile handset market are Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola and Siemens. Sony Ericsson and Samsung have been alternating behind Nokia for second position in Jordan mobile handset market over the past three years. In 2003, Samsung had 3 per cent more market share than its rival Sony Ericsson. However, Mr Francis believes this hierarchy, which changed in 2004, could reverse — especially after the recent reshuffle of Samsung’s distribution channels in Jordan. Approximately 50 per cent of Jordan’s mobile handset retail outlets stock Nokia handsets only. 40 per cent of outlets are stocking Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Siemens, as well as Nokia. The remaining mobile handset retail outlets stock other brands, such as LG, Alcatel, Panasonic and Pantech. The outlook for the mobile market in Jordan is extremely positive. However, there are several constraints to growth, including socio-economic factors such as employment and income levels. Factors such as the continuing development of a mobile calling culture, falling handset prices, innovative marketing strategies, new value-added products, the advent of new technology, and increased competition, will support future growth of the mobile phone market in Jordan.