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MENA good market until at least 2013 - Analysys Mason

Liberalisation in MENA will create opportunities and will entice new entrants into this market, according to Analysys Mason in a new report looking five years into the future. The award of a third 2G licence in Morocco typifies the region's good news. 

More operators will enter the MENA telecoms market over the next five years as liberalisation continues, but established players still have many opportunities to expand their presence in the region, according to the new Analysys Mason report MENA telecoms market: strategies and opportunities 2008 - 2013.

A third 2G licence in Morocco - expected to be issued in the coming months following the commencment of the biddingprocess in October - is among the many opportunities still available in the region, says author and Analysys Mason Analyst Daniel Jones. Sales of stakes in Batelco and Omantel are also in progress. "The market will become more complex as new players, including MVNOs and WiMAX operators, launch services. However, the new licences and privatisation activity will enable major operators in MENA, eg, Etisalat, Orascom, Saudi Telecom, Qtel and Zain, to expand their pan-regional operations and strengthen their grip on the region."

Other major investment opportunities are clouded by political or regulatory issues that make it unclear as to when operators might be able to take advantage of them. These include the delays to the sale of a stake in Algérie Télécom, the award of a second fixed licence in Egypt and the privatisation of the two Lebanese mobile operators, as well as uncertainty over the auction of a third mobile licence in Iran.

MENA telecoms market: strategies and opportunities 2008-2013 examines the key issues affecting the fixed, mobile and broadband markets in the MENA region, including ongoing market liberalisation, the impact of WiMAX, prospects for MVNOs and the strategies of pan-regional operators. The report provides case studies, market data and forecasts for four of the region's largest markets - Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and UAE - as well as for the region as a whole.

"Operators are keen to expand, but they must not lose sight of the importance of their established operations and how to best exploit opportunities in those markets," explained Jones. "Broadband services will represent the key growth area during the next five years, and mobile operators need to position themselves to take advantage of this growth, as European operators have in their home markets."

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