Oman lined up for Middle East tech hub status – R&M

Oman lined up as Middle East tech hub status – R&M

Oman has established a progressive mobile sector which has substantial coverage of both 3G and 4G LTE networks, reports Research & Markets.

While 5G is not expected to become available until at least 2020, there have been trials already conducted, network upgrades underway and spectrum allocated. In 2019 Omantel announced that its network was 5G ready.

The mobile sector in Oman has become more and more competitive in recent years, due to both the market becoming saturated as well as the rise of MVNOs. While mobile broadband subscriptions are still in a growth stage, they have declined recently due to changes in the expat population in Oman.

The country’s two mobile network operators (MNO) were awarded 15 year licences in 2019. A third mobile network operator (MNO) licence was up for tender throughout 2017 and four operators expressed an interest in bidding for it. However, in October 2017, the government announced the tender process had been cancelled. It was reported the licence would be awarded to a local consortium instead and this is expected to be finalised during 2019.

There has also been a recent and renewed push towards improving fixed broadband infrastructure for Oman, especially fibre-based networks. The fibre optic service provider, Asawr, was partially acquired in early 2018 and this will allow for fresh investment in its high-speed network.

As part of its National Broadband Strategy, the Oman Broadband Company (OBC) hopes to have all homes and businesses connected to its national broadband infrastructure by 2040.

Oman is well positioned to be a technology hub in the Middle East as it is well located between Asia, Africa and Europe and has access to several submarine cable systems. For these reasons, Equinix, one of the largest data centre operators in the world, opted to partner with Omantel in mid-2018 and jointly build a new data centre in Oman.

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