Delta Partners consultants says IPTV, mobile TV and multiplay will increasingly form the new battleground for Middle East telcom firms as they see lower fixed line revenues, fixed-mobile substitution and strong mobile competition going into the future.
Research Director, Mohsen Malaki, says that broadband sharing and cheap broadband alternatives are becoming a feature of the market with more regulatory pressure and entry of fixed line competition. He adds that Gulf telecom firms were increasingly turning their investment horizons to the African continent. "Increasingly market penetration is being focused on multiplay and IPTV," said Malaki. "The foundation for this is broadband and in Africa the markets are at differing stages in the development of bandwith."
"The package of mobile with fixed line, and IPTV with mobile and fixed voice, or tripleplay is still some time away because of the regulatory hurdles of bundling," comments Malaki. He points out this regulatory obstacle is especially strong in the Gulf, even if technically the markets are very developed, since most mobile operators don’t also have a fixed line licence. But for mobile TV as a standalone service there are no regulatory obstacles hence we have seen Qtel in Qatar with its service and with Zain Bahrain Smart TV and other examples coming soon in Saudi Arabia.