Internet prices may go cheaper

Muscat: The third mobile operator’s arrival next year is certainly expected to make mobile internet more competitive and efficient in the Sultanate. Oman has 712,522 postpaid and 5,728,267 prepaid users and 424,284 fixed internet subscribers as of 2018.
Citizens and residents who have spent some time abroad for work, studies or business would admit that mobile internet is expensive in Oman.
There will be some pressure on pricing of products with the arrival of the third mobile operator, a top official of one of the telecom companies in Oman earlier told the Observer.
“At the same time, the company will see the new competition as an opportunity to look at our products, services and customer care among others’’.
Currently, markets like India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and most of the neighbouring countries have much lower charges.
As per Cable.co.uk, which offers an in-depth analysis of the telecom sector, the average cost of one gigabyte (1GB) of mobile data in Oman was $11.28 as of November 2018.
“The cheapest package of 1GB mobile data in Oman will cost $3.90 while the most expensive will be around $25,” it says.
It costs only $0.26 in India, $0.78 in Sri Lanka and $0.99 in Bangladesh for 1GB mobile data.
“Having spent a lot of time in Europe and the United States, I would say that we have some distance to travel to make our services affordable in today’s era of absolute digitalisation,” said Mohammed al Harassi, a student who recently completed his studies abroad.
In the GCC, the average cost of one gigabyte (1GB) of mobile data is $2.01 in Kuwait, $5.62 in Saudi Arabia, $10.23 in the UAE, $4.62 in Qatar, $2.83 in Bahrain.
“It would be difficult to comment on the efficiency of mobile services in India, but overall the internet is very cheap and also faster,” said Prakash Mohan, an Indian based in Oman.
He added, “I didn’t find speed very erratic here but it is expensive due to limited options’’.
“If the internet and conventional voice calls have got cheaper over the years in Oman, it is only because of competition. We can hope some good days ahead,” said Helen, a Filipino.
The same 1GB mobile data costs $2.78 in Thailand, $3.16 in the Philippines, $1.21 in Malaysia, $3.67 in Singapore, $9.89 in
China, $8.34 in Japan, $12.02 in Canada, $12.37 in the United States, $6.66 in United Kingdom, $2.99 in France, $6.96 in Germany, $2.25 in Turkey.
As per the Cable.co.uk, it takes two hours and 15 minutes to download a 5GB movie in Oman, one and ten minutes in the UAE, two hours and nine minutes in Saudi Arabia, two hours and seven minutes in Qatar and two hours and 55 minutes in Kuwait.
It would take one hour and 18 minutes in India and over four hours in China compared to less than 30 minutes in countries in the UK, United States and Canada.
A strategic partner agreement of the third mobile operator in Oman was signed on Thursday with operations set to begin in 2020.
According to Dr Ahmed al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, the new company, Vodafone Oman, will usher in a new stage of growth, competitiveness, options to beneficiaries, and career opportunities for young people.