MVNOs in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia Emerges as the Largest MVNO market in the Middle East in 2015

Date: 2016-03

The MVNO market in the Middle East is characterized by limited presence of MVNOs. The region is far behind developed regions such as Western Europe and North America in terms of MVNO subscriptions and penetration. Nonetheless, where MVNOs do have a presence in the region, they have made a significant market impacts For instance in Oman, MVNO subscriptions are estimated to account for 14.9% of total mobile subscriptions in 2015, while recently launched MVNOs in Saudi Arabia have acquired a significant number of subscribers, making the Saudi MVNO market the largest in the region in 2015. Over the next five years, Pyramid Research expects total MVNO subscriptions in the Middle East (including Oman, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel) to grow at a CAGR of 19.5% to reach 7.3m in 2020, from an estimated 3.0m in 2015. This will largely be supported by continued subscriber acquisition by MVNOs in Saudi Arabia. Further developments in the Middle Eastern MVNO market will be supported by the expected entrance of MVNOs in Iran

Key Findings
–聽Currently, ethnic models are the most prevalent MVNO business models in the Middle East, being adopted by 36.4% of the total MVNOs present in the region. This is followed closely by MNO sub-brands, accounting for 27.3% of all MVNOs in the Middle East. Major MVNOs in the Middle Eastern market include FRiENDi, Virgin Mobile, Renna and Lebara.

–聽Regulators are increasingly assessing the potential benefit of MVNOs in the mobile market. This is largely to support further liberalization efforts to boost price competition and service innovation. Further support for MVNOs in mobile markets is being addressed through reducing MTRs, harmonizing the tariff differentials between off-net and on-net voice traffic and implementing mobile number portability services. This will help to ease up barriers to entry for new MVNOs.

–聽Given the oligopolistic market structures of many Middle Eastern mobile markets the barriers to entry for MVNOs is relatively high. A key factor inhibiting the competitiveness of MVNOs in the region is regulation on tariffs. In many cases, MVNOs aim to offer discount prices for mobile services, however, in the Middle East, minimum price floors result in many MVNOs failing to acquire or maintain significant subscriber market share. Nonetheless, some MVNOs are taking innovative approaches to market entry, for instance, Virgin Mobile’s use of social media and digital marketing has enabled the MVNO to acquire a significant number of subscribers in Saudi Arabia since its launch in 2014.

‘MVNOs in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia Emerges as the Largest MVNO market in the Middle East in 2015’ report provides an overview of the MVNO market in the Middle East and covers a variety of business models adopted by MVNOs to target their local markets.

It consists of

–聽Definitions and MVNO business model explanations.

–聽Overview of global and regional MVNO market evolution, and analysis of common business models adopted by MVNOs in the Middle East.

–聽Case studies on key MVNOs in the Middle East, including an overview of key segment(s) targeted, market strategies and results.

–聽Key findings based on the study of MVNO business models in the region and a set of recommendations for mobile operators, MVNOs and regulators.

–聽Gain understanding of MVNO markets and their evolution in the Middle East, to identify market opportunities.

–聽Align market strategies by analyzing the various MVNO business models being used by existing and new MVNOs in the Middle East.

–聽Gain understanding of the competitive landscape and successful strategies, to strengthen your positioning in the market versus existing MVNOs.”


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