UAE cellular market competiveness improves

Rating improves to fifth as compared to fourth last year

The UAE improved its cellular market competitiveness among the Arab countries this year as compared to previous year.

The UAE has been rated fifth least competitive market in the Arab World in 2012 as compared to fourth last year, the Arab Advisors Group said in its Cellular Competition Intensity Index 2012 on Monday.

The UAE scored 49.01 per cent in 2012 Cellular Competition Intensity Index as compared to 47.17 per cent last year.

Saudi Arabia retained its status as the most competitive Arab cellular market. Jordan came in second, followed by Palestine.

Saudi Arabia topped with a 74.56 per cent mark. This is followed by Jordan (70.67 per cent), Palestine (70.43 per cent), Egypt (67.86 per cent), Oman (67.01 per cent), Morocco (64.20 per cent), Iraq (62.45 per cent), Tunisia (61.13 per cent), Bahrain (61.01 per cent), Algeria (58.91 per cent), Sudan (56.72 per cent), Mauritania (55.63 per cent), Yemen (55.19 per cent), Kuwait (52.58 per cent), UAE (49.01 per cent), Qatar (47.14 per cent), Syria (39.75 per cent), Lebanon (38.84 per cent) and Libya (32.68 per cent).

The Cellular Competition Intensity Index is relative in nature as it compares the state of every market relative to other markets. As such, even if a market’s absolute level of competition improved, its score in this relative index will also depend on how other markets developed.

The 2012 index results revealed that four countries ranked higher than their April 2011 index ranks, these are: Egypt, Sudan, UAE and Lebanon. Moreover, a total of four countries ranked lower compared to the April 2011 index, namely: Oman, Yemen, Qatar and Libya. The remaining eleven countries of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Iraq, Tunisia, Bahrain, Algeria, Mauritania, Kuwait and Syria maintained their April 2011 ranks.

The index takes into account the number of operators, packages, and services available in each of the 19 countries covered by the Group. Each category was assigned a certain weight according to its importance as an indicator of competition. The categories include the following: Number of licensed and expected operators in 2012, number of working operators, market share of largest operator, number of prepaid plans, number of postpaid plans, availability of smart phone plans, availability of corporate offers, availability of 3G services and the availability of operational ILD (International Long Distance) competition.

“Saudi Arabia hosts four operational and licensed operators. Consumers have a choice of twenty four prepaid plans and twenty six postpaid plans. Saudi Arabia’s score benefited from the availability of smart phone plans, corporate offers, 3G services and ILD competition,” Mohammed Al-Shawwa, Arab Advisors Group Senior Research Analyst noted.

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