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"The success of MVNOs will depend on the intensity of competition posed by mobile network operators and the presence of clear regulatory frameworks for licensing and ensuring healthy relationships with host networks."

MVNOs are active in only a few countries in the Middle East North and Africa (MENA) region, but there is strong momentum in this sector thanks to major markets such as Saudi Arabia opening up to new entrants. This report assesses the prospects for MVNOs in four countries in the region (Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia).

This strategy report:
examines the market segments that MVNOs in the region could target:
immigrants, tourists, young adults and retailer discounts
assesses the competition that mobile network operators (MNOs) pose in these segments by tracking propositions for international calling, young adults and the overall inclination towards discounted plans
analyses the regulatory and wholesale regimes that may enable or constrain the arrival of MVNOs and take-up of MVNO services.

Table Of Contents

The MVNOs in the Middle East and North Africa: opportunities, competition and regulation

Table of contents


About this report


Executive summary


Executive summary


MVNOs are relatively new to MENA and their potential impact is uncertain


We analyse four countries on three dimensions


Recommendations


Market and segment opportunities


Market and segment opportunities: Immigrants on low incomes and young Arabs are key target segments for MVNOs in MENA


Oman: MVNOs are addressing demand for low-cost internationalcalling and expanding portfolios to include affordable mobile data


Qatar: Low-income foreign workers present an opportunity forMVNOs to offer international calling services


Saudi Arabia: Millions of foreign workers and young Saudis onlow incomes have attracted two MVNOs into the market


Tunisia: Segments that appear to be obvious targets will prove challenging for potential MVNO entrants


Competition from MNOs


Competition from MNOs: Opportunities exist, but competition from MNOs is intense and unique value propositions will not be easy to find


Oman: Discount models for locals and international communities succeed as MVNOs and Omantel demarcate their segments


Qatar: MNOs are offering increasingly competitive internationalrates and Vodafone is addressing the wealthy youth segment


Saudi Arabia: Virgin Mobile offers unique propositions, but Lebara Mobile's international tariff discounts need more distinction


Tunisia: Discount models for locals and international communities succeed as MVNOs and Omantel demarcate their segments


Regulatory and wholesale environment


Regulation and wholesale: Regulators are clarifying the frameworks associated with MVNOs, but work is needed to encourage co-operation


Oman: MVNOs prosper in key segments thanks to a liberalregulatory approach and support from host MNOs


Qatar: The regulator needs to work on a clear framework forMVNOs, if it is to introduce new competition at the service level


Saudi Arabia: The regulator set out strict requirements and hasbrought experienced MVNOs into the market


Tunisia: Clarification of the regulatory framework and aggressivecuts in termination rates are attracting MVNO candidates


Appendix


About the authors and Analysys Mason

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