Who’s who in Arab cellular rates? The highest, the lowest and the fairest!

Published May 16th, 2010 - 08:31 GMT

A new report from the Arab Advisors Group analyzes the cellular tariffs for 53 cellular operators in 19 Arab countries. Morocco has the highest average cost of prepaid and postpaid cellular minutes in the Arab World. Egypt offer the lowest average cellular minute costs for prepaid and postpaid. 12 of the 19 covered markets impose taxes on cellular services, these are: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. Jordan boasts the highest sales tax rates on cellular services in the region followed by Tunisia and Morocco.

New research and analysis from the Arab Advisors Group reveal that Morocco has the highest postpaid average minute cost in the region followed by Mauritania. As for the prepaid average minute rates, Morocco also has the highest average rate followed by Lebanon. Egypt lies on the other extreme, having the region’s lowest average prepaid and postpaid minute rates. The analysis includes taxes collected by governments on airtime and cellular use. 

The Arab Advisors Group analyzed the cellular rates in the following nineteen Arab countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, UAE, and Yemen. In order to allow for comparisons, the report focuses on the average cellular rates of these countries’ 53 operational cellular providers. In calculating the average cellular rates, the Arab Advisors Group relied on the simple average for the packages’ rates. The average peak and off-peak minute rates in the report include the tariffs for on-net and off-net traffic. The rates mentioned in the report include all applicable taxes, representing the total costs that end users’ bear. The report also covers the airtime billing methods that the cellular operators use.

A new report, “Cellular Rates in the Arab World: A Regional Comparison” was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Telecoms Strategic Research Service subscribers on April 21, 2010. 
Any investment in the report can also count towards attending Arab Advisors' 7th annual Media and Telecoms Convergence Conference on June 7 & 8, 2010 at the Four Seasons in Amman. The report covers the following cellular operators that were operational by March 2010. These are: Algerie Telecom Mobile (Mobilis), Orascom Telecom Algeria (Djezzy), Wataniya Telecom Algeria (Nedjma), Batelco (Bahrain), Zain Bahrain, VIVA Bahrain, Vodafone Egypt, MobiNil (Egypt), Etisalat Misr, Asiacell (Iraq), Korek Telecom (Iraq), Zain Iraq, Zain Jordan, Orange (Jordan), Umniah (Jordan), Xpress (Jordan), Wataniya Kuwait, Zain Kuwait, VIVA Kuwait, MTC-Touch (Lebanon), Alfa (Lebanon), Libyana (Libya), Al Madar Al Jadeed (Libya), Mattel (Mauritania), Mauritel (Mauritania), Maroc Telecom, Medi Telecom (Morocco), Inwi (Morocco -previously known as Wana), Nawras Telecom (Oman), Oman Mobile, Friendi Mobile (MVNO – Oman), Mazoon Mobile (MVNO – Oman), Renna Mobile (MVNO – Oman), Jawwal (Palestine), Wataniya Mobile (Palestine), Qtel (Qatar), Vodafone Qatar, Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Mobily (Saudi Arabia), Bravo (Saudi Arabia), Zain Saudi Arabia, Zain Sudan, Sudani, MTN Syria, Syriatel, Tunisie Telecom, Orascom Telecom Tunisia (Tunisiana), Etisalat (UAE), du (UAE), MTN Yemen, Sabafon (Yemen), Yemen Mobile and Y-Telecom (Yemen).


“Twelve Arab countries impose taxes on cellular services charged to the end users. These are the governments of Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen. Such taxes might be referred to as sales tax, telecommunication tax, value added tax, or consumption tax. All rates mentioned in this report include all applicable taxes (representing the total costs that end users’ bear). The governments of the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries and Libya do not impose taxes on consumers' use of cellular services."  Mrs. Faten Bader, Arab Advisors Group senior research analyst commented. “Enhanced competition in the Arab cellular markets has caused operators to adopt per- second billing or fractions of a minute. As of March 2010, an array of 15 different billing methods was in use by 52 cellular operators in the 19 covered Arab countries.” Ms. Zeena Al Borgan, Arab Advisors Group senior research analyst added.

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