In 1999 Kuwait became the first GCC nation to license a second mobile carrier, which gave its domestic industry a head start on becoming the relatively sophisticated telecoms market it is today. Though the local market is relatively small, the country has long been a profitable place for its leading mobile operators, Zain and Wataniya, with one of the world’s highest levels of average revenue per user (ARPU). However, competition intensified with the arrival of a third mobile operator, Viva,…
Telecoms and IT
From The Report: Kuwait 2012
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Ever since Kuwait opened its mobile market to further competition by granting a licence to a third mobile operator, Viva, in 2008, competition has ratcheted up. However, while the number of mobile subscribers has also increased, from 4.09m in first-quarter 2010, to 4.59m registered users in 2011, operator revenues have declined. With tightening margins, mobile internet and value-added services have become the primary battleground in the fight for revenues. Blackberry, iPhone and iPad promotions, for example, are now targeted at the youth and high-income segments of the population. Internet penetration rates have increased, yet at just 39%, the coming years should see many opportunities for entrepreneurs to deliver specialised online content to Kuwaitis. However, the government wishes to ensure that internet service providers bring prices down over time as the market develops, and is considering the introduction of a sector regulator.