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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

ICT Minister: More 3G spectrum coming this month, TE Data market share is 30%

Wait — what? Communications and Information Technology Minister Yasser Al Qady says TE Data cannot be a monopoly as it only has a 30% market share, dropping cold water on any notion that the ministry is somehow an impartial mediator in the private internet providers’ dispute with the state-owned ISP. The statement contradicts reports going back to last year that TE Data’s market share is north of 70%. The statement also does not mention the numerous complaints by its private-sector competitors and customers of TE Data poaching customers while parent company TE upgrades network infrastructure to fiber optic cables from copper wire.

On a lighter note, Al Qady did announce that the ministry is planning to release more 3G spectrum to mobile network operators this month, Al Mal quotes the minister as saying at a forum hosted by Information Technology Industry Development Agency. Al Qady added that the ministry is still working out the framework for regional ISP licenses, stating that it is still mulling over whether to charge 6-10% of annual revenues as payment for the licenses or a flat fee. Coverage of Al Qady’s various statements in the past few days makes no mention of when we might see upgrades to 4G / LTE kicking off. MCIT has previously said existing mobile operators would have 4G spectrum by year’s end — and that we may have a fourth mobile network operator this year, too.

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