Gürkan Öztürk

CEO, Sama Telecommunications

Although the mobile market is too competitive and over penetrated, I still see a growth potential there. I don’t think the real growth will be down to growth in the number of subscribers but in average revenue per user (ARPU). Mobile broadband usage is heavily increasing, which substitutes and outweighs the decrease in international voice and SMS revenues. Fixed-line broadband will definitely be the market where we will see the highest growth in the coming years. We also have high expectations from the corporate market. Oman is a large country compared to other countries in the region, with a low population density. It is also a difficult terrain with desert and mountainous areas; in addition the non-urban population is lightly clustered. These are the factors that collectively mean very high infrastructure investments with no or very long-term returns to the incumbent telecom operators. In this respect I find the government’s intervention in the telecom market just and right. The regulatory body, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), supports the government’s efforts in universal access by associated investment mandates requested from operators every time a strategic license is issued. There is a well-managed licensing framework and support from the government to private companies to add on to the country’s infrastructure, that is the practice that the world follows.

Ross Cormack

CEO, Nawras

There is huge investment coming from petrochemical companies, which are rightly expecting to have sophisticated telecommunications systems to back them up. All of this activity is driving tremendous investment. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), in telecoms network readiness Oman is ranked 40th in the 200 countries of the world. As both operators have implemented 4G, we have a very sophisticated end-to-end service from the companies in operation today. The WEF measurement for mobile penetration ranks us seventh in the world. The fact is we are investing more than we have ever invested before to deliver the incredible service we have today. We are in the top 10% of networks in the world, having rolled out 4G in Oman. If we can attract people to begin using 4G as soon as possible, it will allow us to offer the service at an effective price. The government is involved in many different areas. The most important change it has made recently is to make extra frequencies available, which has allowed us to do a number of new things. The government has done a fantastic job and much of the activity has been led by the TRA. Using this new frequency means that we can do so much more to delight our customers.

Martin Glud

CEO, FRiENDi Mobile

The international service is very important. We are always looking into new opportunities. If there is something that fits, we do not take licenses just to have them, but if there are licenses that fit with our strategic scope then of course we are interested. However, the biggest trend we have seen during the four years that we have been operating here is that data and the internet are becoming even more important. We launched our internet offering in February 2011, and we were the first to launch a monthly package on pre-paid. Until we launched this service, the only way you could access data on your pre-paid phone was signing up for 24-hour offers. Other providers have launched similar offers since then, and I think that everyone is seeing huge growth in the use of data and internet via mobile phones these days. The increase has been helped by the explosive use of smartphones. In Oman, this huge growth has been concentrated in the last two or three years. Despite the rise of voice over IP (VoIP) services, we have not seen any drop in conventional calling, so we have not seen any huge changes in market patterns. Data is used not only for calling; it is used for many things, and nowadays different segments use different data products.