Interview: Ghazi Al Jobor
How are local operators diversifying their services, and which new digital services will drive growth?
GHAZI AL JOBOR: Service providers have started moving away from traditional telecommunications services to new digital services, such as e-wallets and near field communication, data bundles with specific over-the-top (OTT) applications and smart Internet of Things (IoT) to provide small-scale solutions for the home – just to name a few. Increased demand for high-speed internet with quality networks will drive the growth of new services in Jordan, such as internet protocol television (IPTV) and video services, business cloud hosting, e-commerce and digital financial services.
How is increased competition among local operators contributing to infrastructure development?
AL JOBOR: Local operators are replacing traditional core networks and substituting them with internet protocol-based ones, while also upgrading and expanding radio access 3G and 4G networks. Recently the local market has witnessed mobile operators investing in fibre optics laying for their core networks and fibre-to -the-home retail services. Any fixed infrastructure development should be within clearly planned strategies and municipality guidelines.
Consumers are constantly looking for more innovative services that are higher quality, such as bundled services, to better facilitate their daily lives. In the near future we expect a revolution in IoT services, which will require advanced infrastructure. While competition is healthy, an emphasis should be placed on finding new revenues to reimburse the losses in traditional services, instead of focusing on increasing their market shares.
In what ways are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) being developed in the telecoms industry?
AL JOBOR: The Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) ensures telecoms operators with significant market power lower the barriers to entry by imposing infrastructure sharing and bit-stream unbundling in the access network. The Statement of Government Policy 2012 on the Communications, Information Technology and Postal Sectors in Jordan encourages increased flexibility in regulations and in the sector’s responsiveness regarding technological change. Furthermore, the policy statement encourages IT associations to work with chambers of industry and commerce and other industry associations to reach SMEs in those sectors, with targeted messages about how IT can help their businesses.
In line with the Jordan 2025 strategy, which considered the SME sector as vital to the growth of the national economy and the creation of new job opportunities, the major areas of focus include creating an enabling business environment, and developing infrastructure and facilities. The TRC is supporting SMEs through effective competition in the ICT sector, which will increase competition in the telecoms markets and encourage all operators in the sector to invest in new technologies, such as digital services, business cloud hosting, e-commerce and digital financial services. Having such advanced services in the market will improve the competitiveness of Jordanian SMEs and allow them to expand their operations in foreign markets.
Which areas within the ICT sector present opportunities for foreign investors?
AL JOBOR: Despite the current regional conditions, Jordan continues to be a point of attraction for investment. Due to the rapid evolution of technology and the ICT sector, there are many opportunities for foreign investors in IoT communications and mobile applications providers. Other opportunities can also spark interest in mobile money and digital financial services, as well as OTT services development and IPTV media services. This encourages competitiveness to embrace foreign investors that present smart services in Jordan through agreements with local telecoms operators.
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