Consumers in Qatar Enjoy lower cost of Telecom Services
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
CRA – The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) participated in the ‘Telecommunications Retail Price Benchmarking for Arab Countries’ study by AREGNET which compares the prices of a range of telecoms services across the GCC, Arab and OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development - an economic and social forum with a membership of 35 countries) markets. Overall, the study revealed that the prices of telecom services in Qatar are broadly lower than the rest of the GCC and Arab region.
The survey showed that mobile voice prices in Qatar have fallen 57% since 2008, which is in line with the rest of the region. However, importantly, for mobile voice services that included data bundles, prices in Qatar are below the GCC and Arab average (for Low and Medium usage) and on par with the OECD average. For mobile voice services not including data packages, Qatar’s prices are on a par with the GCC and Arab averages but above the OECD average. In both cases Vodafone Qatar was cheaper than Ooredoo.
For Mobile Broadband services, there have been significant changes in Qatar over the last five years, mainly due to the upgrade from 3G services to faster and cheaper 4G services. Overall, prices for mobile broadband in Qatar are amongst the lowest in the GCC for both residential and business. In addition, residential mobile broadband services are cheaper than the OECD average but for business mobile broadband services are higher than OECD average.
For residential fixed voice services prices, Qatar is well below both the GCC and the Arab averages (and for low usage the OECD average). However, for both fixed calls to a mobile and for business voice services Qatar has some of the highest prices in the region. One reason for this was that residential fixed charges have not changed since 2008 while the price of business fixed services have continued to rise over the same period.
For business fixed broadband internet services, prices in Qatar for higher speed packages (10Mbps and above) prices are below the GCC and Arab averages but still significantly above the OECD average. However, for low speed packages (less than 10Mbps) prices are expensive compared to GCC and Arab averages and significantly above the OECD average.
Leased lines are private telephone lines between two or more locations used by businesses to obtain secure telecommunications services such as a bank’s head office communicating with a branch office. They are available in a range of speeds and distances. In Qatar leased line charges are below the GCC and Arab averages. One of the most commonly taken least line speed is 2Mpbs. Price comparisons of this speed show tariffs in Qatar to be 11% lower than the Arab Average, 20% lower than the GCC average but 50% higher than the OECD average. The prices for leased lines have not changed in Qatar since 2013.
“The AREGNET Benchmarking Report is a vital tool for assessing the growth and impact of competition in the telecommunications sector in Qatar. As the communications sector evolves and looks to support Qatar’s National Vision 2030, open and fair competition has increasingly become important to encourage sustainable growth and success. We shall use competition as a means to foster growth and innovation for everyone’s benefit. While the report highlights significant progress, with mobile voice call prices falling 57% in 8 years, there is still a long way to go,” HE Mohammed Ali Al-Mannai, President of CRA, said, commenting on the report.
“Business charges for fixed voice calls and fixed broadband are still too high and we are aiming to facilitate greater competition in this area to ensure the availability of smart, high quality services at prices that benefit all types of consumers,” he added.
The study, conducted by Teligen Tariff and Benchmarking on behalf of AREGNET (a network of Arab Regulators from 22 Middle East and North African countries (MENA)), has been conducted each year since 2008 and provides an in-depth analysis of the cost of telecoms services for different types of users across fixed and mobile voice, fixed and mobile broadband and business leased line services. It compares prices in the 22 Arab countries, as well as providing a comparison with average OECD pricing.