MUSCAT, AUG 29 – Mobile services accounted for a whopping 70 per cent of the RO 854 million in revenue generated by the telecom sector in the Sultanate in 2017, according the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). The share of fixed services was 29 per cent, while the remaining 1 per cent came from a variety of other telecom services, the regulator stated in its newly published 2017 Annual Report. Revenues earned by the Sultanate’s growing network of service providers climbed two per cent last year, up from RO 838 million in 2016. The sector is made up of Class I licensees Omantel, Ooredoo, Awasr, TEO, Connect Arabia International, OBC (fixed broadband infrastructure), and Madakhel (submarine communications); Class II licensees Renna, Friendi and Zajel; and Class II licensees Rignet, Azyan, and Mahd.
Significantly, mobile subscriptions soared to 6.944 million by the end of 2017, swelled by the addition of 78K subscriptions. This has boosted the mobile penetration rate per inhabitant to 152.3 per cent in 2017 versus 151 per cent in 2016, the Authority stated. Prepaid subscribers accounted for a staggering 90.63 per cent of total mobile subscriptions, the balance 651K subscriptions registered as postpaid customers. Fixed telephone subscriptions grew 21 per cent to around 510K customers — although the jump was largely attributed to “technical adjustments” by the service providers in line with ITU standards.
Fixed Broadband subscriptions, which include DSL, fixed wireless, FTTH, Internet Leased Lines, and others, rose 30.7 per cent last year. Fixed Broadband penetration per household surged 59.7 per cent. Active Mobile Broadband subscriptions also increased to 4.352 million, boosting Mobile Broadband penetration per inhabitant to 95.4 per cent by end of 2017. Fixed line penetration rate in terms of households increased as well from 73 per cent in 2016 to 87 per cent in 2017, the Authority said. Revenue generated per mobile subscription averaged RO 7.2 per month in 2017. For fixed telephone subscriptions, the monthly average was RO 4.1 per month. The highest revenue was earned from fixed internet subscriptions, yielding an average of RO 27.1 per month.