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Qatar Telecom Market : Is the Price War Between Vodafone and Ooredoo Sustainable?
In 2009, Vodafone entered the Qatar’s telecom market to become the country’s second telecom operator, thereby ending Ooredoo’s (Qtel in 2009) monopoly in the country.
- Vodafone had to pay a mobile licenses fee of $ billion and a fixed license fee of $ .
- In late 2010, Vodafone launched post-paid services in the country. However, the offer was not well accepted in Qatar as it involved a direct debit payment method. In 2012, the company introduced a traditional billing service.
- In 2014, Qatar’s telecom market generated $ billion.
- In the same year, Qatar’s mobile market expanded by % and reached million subscribers.
- In 2014, Vodafone increased its mobile market share to % in terms of subscribers.
- On the other hand, Ooredoo managed to increase its subscriber base to million. In previous years Ooredoo had lost some of its subscriber base to Vodafone.
- Frost & Sullivan projects a steady market share increase for Vodafone, which is expected to reach % by 2019.
Ooredoo has a higher post-paid subscriber base than Vodafone. In 2014, % of Ooredoo’s mobile subscribers had post-paid plans, while Vodafone had only % post-paid subscribers. Hence, Ooredoo had a higher average revenue per user (ARPU) rate in the market.
- In 2014, Ooredoo’s revenue grew by % and reached $ billion. Less than % of the Ooredoo Group's total revenue (which was around billion in 2014), comes from Qatar's telecom market.
- Vodafone’s revenue grew by % to $ billion. However, due to intensive competition, price wars, and high expenses and investments, Vodafone’s profitability remained negative.
- The fixed-line market in 2014 reached subscribers and yielded more than $ million.
- Currently, Ooredoo controls the fixed-line market as Vodafone launched its fixed-line services only in 2012.
- Ooredoo continues to heavily invest in broadband infrastructure as it is developing the Gulf state's fibre-optic network and aims to have all homes connected to its service by the end of 2015. The initial investment cost was estimated to be $ million.
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