Saudi Arabia's cellular market moved from 12th place in 2004 to 6th in 2005 as the Kingdom successfully introduced competition in its cellular market. The results are based on the Arab Advisors Group annual Cellular Competition Intensity Index, devised in order to rate and properly assess the level of intensity of competition within the Arab world's cellular markets. The index takes into account the number of operators, packages, and services available in each of the 18 countries covered by the Arab Advisors Group. Each category is assigned a certain weight according to its importance as an indicator of competitive behaviour.
Intensity Index results for 2005 reveal that Jordan now tops the score as the most competitive Arab market with 84%, followed by Palestine (73%), Algeria (66%), Iraq (62%), Morocco (60%) Saudi Arabia (55%), Yemen (54%), Egypt (51%), Tunisia (49%), Kuwait (43%), Lebanon (42%), Syria (41%), Bahrain (36%), Sudan (32%), Libya (29%), Oman (26%) Qatar 18% and finally UAE at 13%.
Ahmad Al Assad, senior analyst to the Arab Advisors, points out that those cellular markets that are the most currently competitive are all ranked towards the top of the list, followed by the duopoly markets and, finally, the current monopoly markets.
The Arab Advisors Group has at the same time analysed the ownership structure and revenues of all fixed line and cellular operators in the region. This was intended to shed a light on the actual level of privatisation and state ownership in each country, measured by the proportionate share of total revenues for the year 2004.
Lebanon, Oman and Libya had the least privatised telecom markets, with 100% government share (total ownership) of telecom revenues. These three also scored in the bottom half of the Cellular Competition Intensity Index.
The most privatised markets are Palestine (0% government proportionate share of revenues), followed by Jordan (23%), Sudan (27%), Bahrain (34%), Yemen (39%), Syria (40%), Algeria (41%), Kuwait (45%), Egypt (47%), Morocco (55%), Qatar (55%), UAE (60%), Saudi Arabia (70%) and Tunisia (80%). This analysis was based on full 2004 revenues, meaning that since new operators entered the market in late 2004 or in 2005, the results will not totally reflect the current status of the market.