AMMAN -- Jordan has the second most competitive cellular phone market in 2013 among Arab countries, maintaining its levels from 2012, according to a report by the Arab Advisers Group.
The report, e-mailed to The Jordan Times ranked Saudi Arabia the Arab world's most competitive cellular market for the third year in a row.
Jordan was followed by Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Oman, Morocco, Bahrain Tunisia, Sudan, Mauritania, Algeria, Yemen, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Libya, Syria and Lebanon, according to the Cellular Competition Intensity Index 2013.
The index examined the intensity level of competition in the Arab world's cellular markets. It took into account the number of operators, packages and services available in each of the 19 countries covered by the report.
Jawad Abbassi, founder and general manager of the Arab Advisers Group, ascribed Jordan's advanced ranking to diverse services provided by telecom operators and lack of monopoly, among other factors.
"Jordan has a variety of services that do not exist elsewhere. It has a variety of offers and packages offered by telecom companies that are considered very competitive compared to other countries," he told The Jordan Times Saturday.
"There is no monopoly in services. Third Generation services are available and offers for both prepaid and post-paid subscribers are competitive," Abbassi added.
"These are all factors that place Jordan ahead in competitiveness in the cellular market," he said.
Abed Shamlawi, CEO of the ICT Association of Jordan (int@j), said the lack of Fourth Generation service made Jordan come second.
"Saudi Arabia is ahead of Jordan, as it has the Fourth Generation service, but other than that, competitiveness and the quality of services in the cellular market in Jordan are very high," he added.
Last month, the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission opened five new radio frequencies, including 4th Generation services, and floated the tenders for both new and existing operators, which opens the door for a new operator in the country.
"Competition between the three operators in Jordan is very strong, which caused a huge drop in prices of services in the sector," said Shamlawi.
According to official figures, there were 9.475 million mobile subscriptions at the end of March this year, of which about 8.745 million are prepaid lines.
The study, however, was conducted before a government decision to double taxes on mobile phones and services.
The government increased the special tax on mobile phones from 8 per cent to 16 per cent, and the tax on mobile subscriptions -- both prepaid and post-paid -- from 12 per cent to 24 per cent.
Telecom operators have warned that the decision will negatively affect the local market.
The 2013 index results revealed that five countries ranked higher than their 2012 index ranks, they are: Iraq, Bahrain, Sudan, Mauritania and Libya.
Moreover, a total of six countries ranked lower compared to the 2012 index: Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria and Lebanon.
© Jordan Times 2013