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Fixed broadband catching up to mobile in Kuwait - R&M

Kuwait's telecom sector is characterised by a highly developed mobile sector with many multiple subscriptions.

Mobile represents the majority of total broadband connections. With mobile penetration at high levels, focus has shifted to the mobile data market. All three operators have upgraded networks to support faster downlink speeds and are increasingly focused on mobile content and applications.

The deployment of fixed broadband has been steady but slow in Kuwait. In the last couple of years fixed services have begun to make inroads but penetration is still low compared to other countries and there is no NBN policy in place.

Fibre subscribers account for around a quarter of all fixed broadband subscriptions. The government recognises that the existing copper based infrastructure will not keep up with the data demands of the future.

The three major mobile providers in Kuwait (Zain, Ooredoo, Viva) are highly competitive and while Zain has the highest market share of about 38%, the other two are not far behind, capturing over 30% each as well. Viva joined the market in 2008 and rose quickly to capture market share against the existing two players.

With such a vibrant and well established mobile sector at play, the large operators are now moving towards offering more value-added services as well as technology and network upgrades. In the past year or so, Zain Kuwait, for example, has launched M2M services for corporate customers as well as VoLTE services. Zain Kuwait also recently conducted successful tests of 4.5G technology in conjunction with Huawei.

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