Op­por­tu­nity ris­ing in Jor­dan

A young, grow­ing pop­u­la­tion. Rel­a­tively low mo­bile pen­e­tra­tion rates and In­ter­net users. A mod­ernising econ­omy and in­fra­struc­ture. It’s safe to say Jor­dan is rife with op­por­tu­ni­ties for tel­cos look­ing to grow their cus­tomer base.

Comms MEA - - News -

It’s safe to say Jor­dan is rife with plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties for tel­cos.

Com­pared to some of the other mar­kets in the Mid­dle East, Jor­dan has a rel­a­tively low mo­bile pen­e­tra­tion rate. Sim­i­larly, just a lit­tle over 60% of the pop­u­la­tion uses the In­ter­net, ac­cord­ing to the CIA World Fact­book. Thirdly, it has a very young pop­u­la­tion – with a me­dian age of just 22.5 years – and a rapidly grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, both through a high birth rate and im­mi­gra­tion.

In sum: there are tremen­dous busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties for tel­cos to reach new cus­tomers through­out Jor­dan.

The main op­er­a­tors in Jor­dan are Orange Jor­dan (part of Jor­dan Tele­com Group), Zain Jor­dan (part of Kuwait-based Zain Group), Jor­dan Tele­com, and Um­niah (mostly owned by Bahrain-based Batelco). Ac­cord­ing to the Ox­ford Busi­ness Group, so many op­er­a­tors in the mar­ket has led to fierce com­pe­ti­tion, lead­ing to lower prices for con­sumers, par­tic­u­larly since the in­tro­duc­tion of Um­niah in the mid-2000s. That com­pe­ti­tion has, ac­cord­ing to a May re­port from Arab Ad­vi­sors Group, in Jor­dan hav­ing the low­est av­er­age pre­paid cel­lu­lar pack­age prices in the Mid­dle East.

Ac­cord­ing to an anal­y­sis from Kylie Wansink at telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions re­search site Budde Comm, mo­bile broad­band is a key growth area for Jor­dan, with the in­tro­duc­tion of 4G ser­vices and a grow­ing ICT in­dus­try.

“Jor­dan is a unique mar­ket in many ways, due to the huge pop­u­la­tion growth in the last decade and the in­flux of refugees into the coun­try,” her re­port says. “Jor­dan has a well-de­vel­oped telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture and the in­dus­try is pre­par­ing it­self for the next wave of de­vel­op­ments re­lat­ing to 5G and IoT/M2M.

“The de­vel­op­ment of a na­tional broad­band net­work based on fi­bre is well un­der­way and Orange Jor­dan re­mains the largest fixed net­work op­er­a­tor in the king­dom. Zain Jor­dan is also in­vest­ing in fi­bre-based net­work in­fra­struc­ture.

“The mo­bile sec­tor in Jor­dan is chal­leng­ing for the three ma­jor op­er­a­tors as they all hold roughly the same mar­ket share and are highly com­pet­i­tive. Zain Jor­dan and Orange Jor­dan both launched 4G LTE ser­vices ahead of Um­niah - which saw a de­cline in mo­bile sub­scribers in 2016 as a re­sult.

“How­ever, the launch of 4G LTE ser­vices in gen­eral, has led to a growth in data rev­enues for the mo­bile op­er­a­tors and ex­pand­ing data of­fer­ings will be a key fo­cus area mov­ing for­ward.

Jor­dan is host to a grow­ing num­ber of ICT com­pa­nies and has emerged as a tech­nol­ogy start up hub for the Mid­dle East, made pos­si­ble due to a fo­cus on ICT ed­u­ca­tion and a reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to ICT in­vest­ment. It has also made great progress in the dig­i­tal fi­nan­cial ser­vices area with sup­port from the Cen­tral Bank of Jor­dan.”

Such an anal­y­sis may seem like mu­sic to the ears of tel­cos in terms of busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties, but Wansink writes there are chal­lenges, too. “While Jor­dan is demon­strat­ing pos­i­tive de­vel­op­ments to­wards fixed and mo­bile broad­band de­vel­op­ment, it has some chal­lenges in­clud­ing the on­go­ing in­flux of refugees from Iraq and Syria which places strain on the coun­tries’ econ­omy, in­fra­struc­ture and so­ci­ety in gen­eral.”

Jor­dan is a unique mar­ket in many ways, due to the huge pop­u­la­tion growth in the last decade and the in­flux of refugees into the coun­try.”

-Kylie Wansink

A re­port from the Ox­ford Busi­ness Group pro­vides a sim­i­lar anal­y­sis. “The ICT sec­tor faces a num­ber of chal­lenges, most notably a heavy tax bur­den, ex­ac­er­bated by the govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to dou­ble two key in­dus­try taxes in 2013,” it states. “In ad­di­tion, com­pe­ti­tion be­tween Jor­dan’s big three telecoms op­er­a­tors has low­ered prices, which ben­e­fits the con­sumer, but could also re­duce the prof­itabil­ity of ex­pand­ing 4G ser­vices.”

Yet the re­port says the Jor­da­nian mar­ket re­mains “strong and stable,” as well as “ma­ture, di­verse and mod­ernised,” with fur­ther po­ten­tial for growth. As the Ox­ford Busi­ness Group anal­y­sis con­cludes: “De­spite ris­ing re­gional com­pe­ti­tion and slower do­mes­tic eco­nomic growth and a tough reg­u­la­tory en­vi­ron­ment, ICT re­mains one of the king­dom’s great­est strengths, and its on­go­ing ex­pan­sion re­mains high on the list of govern­ment pri­or­i­ties. With a his­tory of for­ward-think­ing tech and telecoms de­vel­op­ment, Jor­dan is well po­si­tioned to con­tinue cap­i­tal­is­ing on its bright pop­u­la­tion.”

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