Rural rollouts a threat to Jordan’s mobile growth

Between December 2010 and 2011, Jordan’s mobile penetration rate rose from 112.6% to 118.2%, reaching 7.482m mobile subscribers, according to BMI. The research firm predicts that this figure will reach 9.7mn by 2016, reflecting a penetration rate of around 140.7%.

The main risk to this growth forecast is a slowdown in rural rollout, as operators are tempted to focus mobile data networks in order to drive revenue growth. Although the penetration rate in Jordan is high, it is believed that a significant amount of the population has never owned a phone – a study by the regulator in December 2011 showed that almost 40% of phone users in the country had at least two mobile lines.

The fixed-line market experienced a marginal decline in Q411 after a steep fall in 9M11 that saw it lose 60,783 during that period. There were net losses of just 182,000 fixed-line subscribers in Q411 to bring the fixed-line subscriber base to 424,288 at the end of 2011. Although it is not certain if the decline in fixed-line subscriptions is beginning to drop off, subscriber losses slowed down in Q411 and this trend is likely to continue, especially with the growing popularity of multi-play offerings.

The number of internet users and internet subscriptions, on the other hand, continues to grow rapidly, driven by strong uptake of 3G services. Regulatory data show there were 3.137mn internet users in the country at the end of Q411, an increase of 35% from the end of 2010. The number of internet subscriptions increased by an impressive 78.4% during the same period to reach 616,983. Of this number, 608,820 were broadband-based subscriptions. Regulator data show broadband penetration was 9.6% at the end of 2011; this is expected to more than double by the end of 2016, reaching 20.8%.

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