Connect with us


China Welcomes a Fourth 5G Telecom Provider



China is one of the largest countries around the world. Together with India, it accounts for about one third of the world’s population and two thirds of Asia’s population. The country has been enjoying steady economic growth with a gross domestic product (GDP) increase of about 10 percent each year according the World Bank. However, the last few years witnessed a slowdown in GDP growth with estimated 5 percent in 2022. The coronavirus pandemic and several challenges contributed to the slowdown. As in other countries, 5G seen as an opportunity for economic growth. In contrast to neighboring India which should see the new fifth generation later this year, Chinese operators have deployed the latest technology three years ago. A few days ago, telcos has welcomed the fourth 5G provider, namely China Broadnet.

Telecommunications in China

The telco landscape in mainland China has been dominated by three operators, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom. China Mobile is undoubtedly the largest operator in the country with a number of subscribers nearly three times that of China Telecom and Unicom. Given the political system in the country, the three operators are backed by the Government of China. The sector is regulated by the ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The strength of the telecom sector in the country is not limited to the service provided in the country, but also to the presence of operators and vendors outside the country as well. China Mobile has a presence in Hong Kong, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and Singapore. China Telecom has two subsidiaries for the European and American markets. China Unicom has a subsidiary named China Unicom Global Limited which has been established to cover telecom markets outside China. Vendors and original equipment manufacturers have also been dominating telecom markets outside the country. Despite the US. sanctions and the talks about intellectual property infringements, these companies have used their aggressive pricing strategy to get into the ecosystem of most countries around the world. Huawei, ZTE, and some lesser known brands have rivalled with the likes of Ericsson and Nokia. Their phone segments have also become popular with their offerings which provide the best value for money. In countries where notable economic difficulties, Chinese brands are the best sellers.

The Chinese 5G Landscape

The large Asian country has been unsurprisingly one of the early adopters of the latest wireless evolution. The Chinese market is huge and full of opportunities compared to other markets. According to spokesmen from the MIIT, all cities and around 90 percent of the rural areas have 5G coverage in the country. This is higher than 5G coverage in the USA for example. The number of 5G cell-sites is also expected to reach the two million mark by the end of 2022. The investments by telecom operators is expected to be around Yuan 1.2 trillion which is about USD 179 billion. The investments are not only in the infrastructure but in advanced technologies that will help the operators unlock the full potential of the 5G evolution. Earlier in May, Huawei and China Telecom announced their super time-frequency folding technology, which in simple terms, combines the merits of time and frequency division duplexing (TDD and FDD) to achieve high uplink and downlink data rates while reducing the perceived latency as much as possible. This will allow to meet the requirements for ultra-reliable low latency communications (URLLC) use cases in the future.

The 5G network has been gradually deployed in the country between the second half of 2019 and early 2020. While the pandemic has had an impact on the different plans in the country, the different activities related to the telecom infrastructure hasn’t been affected much. The initial deployment was in the n41 band (2.6GHz) for China Mobile and the n78 band (3.5GHz) for China Telecom and Unicom. To extend coverage, the low sub-1GHz bands are being planned for better coverage. As a noteworthy example, China Telecom and Unicom are co-building the 5G network, with cost-saving in sight.

China Broadnet as a Fourth 5G Provider

At the end of June 2022, a fourth operator has started providing services and potentially compete with the other three operators. Named China Broadnet, the new entrant started offering 4G and 5G services to customers.

The announcement was important for two reasons. Firstly, China Broadnet strategically decided to operate in the 80 MHz bandwidth its mother company China broadcasting network (CBN) acquired in the 700 MHz golden band in 2019. The new operator also owns spectrum in the 4.9 GHz band (n79) which it may use as well. The second notable event is that China Broadnet is cooperating with the leading operator to deploy its network and will probably rely first partially on its partner operator’s network. The agreement which spans multiple years allows the new entrant a paid access to the leading operator’s network notably in the 2.6GHz band. The new operator also chose ZTE as a partner to build the new infrastructure.

In a sense, the Chinese telcos has organized themselves into two groups, China Mobile and Broadnet are collaborating to integrate the new entrant into the ecosystem. The bands acquired by Broadnet and the already existing bands that China Mobile uses should provide some nice future insights for the partnership given the wide spectrum availability when combining all the bands. On the other side, the remaining two operators are working on their own 5G network.


Despite all the controversy surrounding Chinese operators and vendors, and the persistent political tensions with the USA and other European countries, the telecom market in China remains a prosperous, interesting, and unique model. The advent of the fourth operator with all telco politics surrounding it shouldn’t cause a major impact directly. The partnership with China Mobile and the gradual rollout of the network promises a change in the competition dynamics in the near future, notably if China Broadnet can deliver unique services that can set it apart from its competitors.

“Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Telecoms, and  5G space to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.”

PhD holder with over 10 years of experience in wireless communication systems, e-health informatics, and computer networks and a passion to investigate and educate people recent topics in artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and biomimetics.


Telecommunications in Jordan: When External Players and a Promising Strategy Are Driving the Sector Forward



elecommunications in Jordan

Telecommunications in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a flourishing market that is continuously evolving with time. The “ICT facts and opportunities in Jordan” report by the telecommunications regulatory commission (TRC) estimates that information and communications technology (ICT) accounts to 3.8 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), while a recent report by Global Data estimates that the telecom market size value was about USD 1.1 billion with a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7 percent. 

For a total population of around 10.3 million, the TRC has lately indicated in a newsletter early June 2022, that the number of mobile subscribers is around 7.3 million among which, 5.4 million are using prepaid cards. In comparison, fixed line subscriptions totaled around 268 thousand lines. 

The ICT sector is identified among the sectoral clusters for growth in Jordan’s vision 2025. The targets in this cluster include the completion of a high-speed fiber optic network, the regulation of the ICT sector and facilitating the licensing to telecom companies, encouraging infrastructure sharing to increase the spread and use of technology in the kingdom. These guidelines somehow provide clues of the strategies followed by governmental and regulatory entities, and operators in advancing the telecom sector in the kingdom 

External Operators as a Driving Force 

The Jordanian territory is an arena that is witnessing the battle between three international telecom companies, Orange, Zain and Batelco.  

Orange Jordan 

Orange Jordan is operating based on the license granted to Jordan Telecom. Previously known as MobileCom, the company has been providing mobile services for more than 20 years in the Kingdom. Orange’s share of the local market 30 to 25 percent as per the latest annual report whereas the fixed segment share exceeds 90 percent. The company reports an increase in revenues by 5.2 percent compared to 2020. The operator also reported an increase in operational and capital expenditures. Fixed telephony and internet services constitute that largest contributor to the company’s revenues followed closely by the mobile segment. Renewable energy projects and digital financial services complete the series. As is currently the trend with most operators, Orange has a future vision of becoming a digital leader by strengthening its infrastructure and diversifying its services, in particular B2B services. The group’s vision takes into consideration sustainability commitments and notable social involvement. 

Zain Jordan 

The main competitor to Orange is Zain. The Jordanian branch of the Kuwaiti group replaced the previous Jordanian operator Fastlink in 2002 as part of its regional expansion strategy. The Jordan market constitutes around 7 percent or the total group’s subscriber base and contributing to 9 percent of the total revenues. The capital expenditures in the country constitute 5 percent of the total expenditures. A notable portion of the expenses were towards the renewal of the 900 MHz license for another 15 years. The highlights of this year were the expansion of the deployed 4G, and FTTH networks. According to the investor presentation summarizing the achievements of the first quarter in 2022, the FTTH base witnessed over 42 percent increase and over 34 percent increase in revenue. Akin to Orange, Zain Jordan worked on its B2B services and expand the financial services offered through its Zain Cash platform. Finally, and as part of the group’s strategy to streamline its operations, Zain Jordan has finalized its agreement with TASC towers for the sell and leaseback of its 2607 towers in the Kingdom. 


The latest entrant to the local market has been Batelco with its local brand Umniah, which translates to the word “wish” in English. Akin to its competitors, Umniah provides the full spectrum of services including 4G services, fiber to the home connections and fintech solutions through its UWallet subsidiary. Umniah has also been among the first operators in the world to shut down its 2G network. Although it does not have the subscriber base of Zain or Orange, Umniah is evolving very fast.  

The regulatory authority in Jordan has also set the guidelines for the establishment of mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), Virgin mobile owned Friendi has been operating in Jordan until 2017 where it decided to suspend its operations due to the losses it incurred. Friendi is in particular still operating in Oman along many other MVNOs

What is Coming Next? 

The current features of the Jordanian market include the advanced 4G and FTTH networks. The TRC is gearing towards the launch of 5G services with all the dilemmas surrounding it, in the Kingdom. Experiments and trials are well underway over mid-band 5G frequencies, notably 3640-3700 MHz and 3740-3800 MHz. The aim of the of the new technology is twofold: improving the quality of the telecom network, and enable advanced services, notably the digitalization of the operations in various profitable sectors.  

The TRC has also presented its strategy in its latest annual report. Among others, focus in the coming years will be on increasing internet of things applications, strengthening the security of the telecom infrastructure and enforce advanced cybersecurity practices, and finally open the market to more competitors while reducing the possibility of an operator monopolizing the market. In the upcoming years, Jordan will experience what other countries in the region are currently doing, a wave of digital transformation, increased smartification, and a push to deploy advanced 5G networks. Advanced 5G services will coexist with a strong fiber base, strengthening the available telecom infrastructure.  

Although the adoption of mobile and internet services is good, it can be much better. The introduction of new technologies to the Kingdom and the improvement of the ICT sector as per Vision 2025 will take adoption numbers up to the global norm. 


Jordan has long been a promising destination for telecom operator. To this end, world players has been investing in developing the underlying infrastructure for around 20 years. The country has been the playground for strong telecom companies including Orange, Zain and Batelco. The strategy of the TRC, along with the investments of the telecom operators is driving the sector forward especially after the coronavirus pandemic which affected economies all around the world. The prospects for the sectors are certainly looking promising for the coming years.   

“Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Telecoms, and  5G news space to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.” 

Continue Reading


Egypt’s Telecommunications Market: New Strategies to Come Out of Hibernation?



Egypt's Telecommunications Market

Digital transformation has become a central topic in the strategic plan of most countries around the world. The progress that has been achieved in different areas of technology has mandated a complete restructuring of different sectors that contribute to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Digital transformation is only a fancy moniker to highlight the digitalization that affected various operations, mainly to reduce costs, simplify management, and develop new use cases that increase the profitability of key contributing sectors.

Egypt is among the countries that embraced the transformational wave given the importance of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector which contributed to 5 percent of the GDP in the fiscal year 2020/2021. As a result, the ministry of communications and information technology (MCIT) has pinned high hopes on its “Digital Egypt” strategy which aims at creating a digital society.  The telecom industry is among the focus areas towards meeting the strategy goals with the MCIT aiming to improve the quality of infrastructure, extend service provision to villages, and invest in the fiber network.

Current Operator Landscape

The telecom operations in Egypt date all the way back to the 1800s with telegraph services. The mother company, Telecom Egypt, has enjoyed its place as the sole communications service provider until the 1990s and the deployment of the GSM cellular network, the first truly devised mobile system. The GSM era saw a liberalization of the Egyptian market with many external players joining such a promising ecosystem. 

Two providers emerged as the main operators of the first GSM networks, Orange Egypt (formerly known as Mobinil) and Vodafone Egypt (formerly, Click GSM). 99.96 percent of Orange’s capital is owned by Atlas Countries Support (wholly owned by Orange Group while 0.04 percent of the company’s capital is owned by a minority of shareholders. The story is a bit different with Vodafone with Vodafone Group owning 54.93 percent, Telecom Egypt 44.94 percent and a minority free float of 0.13 percent.

The competitiveness of the market increased with the advent of Etisalat Misr as the third operator in 2007. The operator is 66 percent owned by the Emirati giant E&.

The telco market welcomed controversially a fourth operator in 2017, Telecom Egypt’s We. The controversy comes from the fact that Telecom Egypt also has a major share in Vodafone Egypt. The latest agreement between Vodafone and Vodacom to transfer its 55 percent shares in Vodafone Egypt will also give Telecom Egypt additional benefits as per the amended shareholders agreement in June 2021.

The initial operation of We telecom was on Orange and Etisalat’s networks after the signing of the national roaming agreement. The fourth operator would then build its own network. Lately, Telecom Egypt has secured a 150 million Euro loan from European Investment Bank to expand its 4G network by deploying around 2000 new sites.

According to the latest ICT indicators report published by MCIT, the mobile penetration rate is of 89.69 percent with a 7.08 percent drop to the same period last year. The MCIT attributes the drop to the new recommendations of the international telecommunications union of using active line subscriptions instead of registered lines in the calculations. The internet penetration rate is below 60 percent.  To this end, the MCIT has committed to improve the internet quality notably through the fiber infrastructure, in addition to increasing its adoption among the citizens. The national telecommunications regulatory authority (NTRA) further facilitated the switching between internet service providers without additional fees.  

Wireless Technologies in Presence: Still No 5G?

The Egyptian market is one where 2G, 3G, and 4G coexist with no commercial 5G network available yet. The adoption of newer technologies is normally delayed by a few years compared to the global average. The second generation was introduced with the first two operators in 1998 whereas the third generation was deployed in 2007. Finally, the fourth generation LTE network was deployed in 2017.  As a comparison, the first commercial 3G network was deployed in 2001 in Japan whereas the first 4G network was rolled-out in Stockholm and Oslo in 2009.

The three technologies also coexist in the allocated frequency bands at 700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz.

The preparations for later 5G commercial networks in well underway. The NTRA has allocated several frequency bands in the 2600 MHz to the four operators for an amount of USD 1.61 billion. 

Is There a Clear Hierarchy among Operators?

Establishing a proper hierarchy among operators requires looking at different measures. It terms of market share, Vodafone Egypt is the clear leader with a 43 percent share according to a report by Omdia. Orange comes next with 26 percent. Etisalat Misr follows closely with 22 percent. We telecom comes last with 9 percent of the total market, mostly on its 4G network. This is the main reason why it has been looking to increase the investment in its network infrastructure. To have a clearer picture of the market, we need to account for the 45 percent share that Telecom Egypt has in Vodafone.

The classification of the operators varies significantly when looking at the OpenSignal mobile network experience report. Surprisingly, the newcomer We ranked first in terms of video and games experience, consistent network quality, download speeds and was a joint winner in the upload speed category. Of particular importance, the consistent quality ranking quantifies the user experience with a range of applications that requires different quality of service requirements. Etisalat was the joint winner in the upload and availability categories. Vodafone was the winner in the voice app experience, 4G availability and 4G coverage experience. To correlate with Orange’s declining market shares, the operator failed to win any of the measured categories. 

So What’s Next?

To say it in simple words, Egypt is about to experience what other countries did three years ago. The gradual deployment of 5G networks will open the way to new use cases and applications, new investments and partnerships. The average revenue per user (ARPU) will consequently increase leading to further gains from the telecom sector. Given the low internet penetration rate, it is rather imperative to develop use cases which will guarantee wide adoption. Smart agriculture and farming using internet of things is one particular example given that agriculture in Egypt is the major component of the economy accounting to 11.3 percent of the GDP. The NTRA has already issued the regulatory framework for internet of things provision in the country. Among the targets cited by the NTRA are smart cities, smart transportation systems, and enabling Industry 4.0.

In preparation for the next period, investments in data centers have been going well and study. Another reason for investing in data centers is the central location of Egypt between Africa and the Middle East which could make the country an important data hub.  

A national system has been also set by the MCIT to improve cybersecurity, protect the infrastructure of critical sectors and build national capacities specialized in cybersecurity. This has in particular allowed the country to rank among the leading ones according the global cybersecurity index issued by the international telecommunications union. 


Egypt is one most promising telecom markets in the world with a very large number of mobile subscribers and diversified economic sectors that could notably benefits from additional investments in the telecom infrastructure and introduction of new wireless technologies. The path to a digital Egypt will certainly go through drastic and rapid changes in the country. Up to this moment, the country has been lagging behind in terms of its adoption of new technologies. The beginning of the 5G era should however lead to an intensified development. The NTRA has a major role in following aggressive strategies and providing incentives to the different operators to invest in these newer evolutions. Reducing spectrum license fees and promoting increased competitiveness are two major strategies that can be followed.

“Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Telecoms, and  5G space to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.”

Continue Reading


Telecommunications in Iraq: A Promising Market Conditioned by Geopolitical & Social Factors



Telecommunications in Iraq

Iraq, one of the largest countries in the middle east, has been trying to recover from decades marred with war, internal conflicts, ethno-sectarianism and political tensions. As a result, it has witnessed a severe slowdown in the different vital and economic sectors. In particular, the telecom backbone has suffered significantly from the succession of adverse events in the country. On another note, the telecom market in Iraq is one of the most promising, where the increased adoption of mobile services could open the door for important investments in the country’s telecom sector. 

The telco space is regulated by the communications and media commission (CMC). The CMC was established by a decree from the coalition provisional authority (CPA). The CPA was a transitional government established following the invasion of the country by the USA and its allies which ended the previously established regime under the Baathi party in 2003.

The main roles of the CMC include the regulation of broadcasting and communications networks, frequency planning and distribution, in addition to other roles related to media and press. The operation of the CMC is complemented by the ministry of communications (MoC). The MoC is concerned with the provision of telecommunications services and runs the state company for internet services which represents the country in international organizations such as the international telecommunications union (ITU). 

Comparing the telecom landscape to the world norm is not fair to say the least. The geopolitical factors in addition the pronounced sectarianism hinder a proper development of the telecom sector. While the market is predominated by the 3G wireless standard, increasing efforts are being made to deploy a 4G network, establish a fiber optic network, and work towards an Iraqi satellite system.

A Tale of Three Operators

The Iraqi market is dominated by three operators, Kuwaiti giant Zain GroupOoredoo subsidiary Asiacell and Korek. Korek was originally owned by French group Orange and Kuwaiti logistics company Agility. However, their stake in the operator which they acquired in 2011 was confiscated by the CMC. The Korek saga is a complicated one involving Sirwan Barzani, the first cousin of Nechirvan Barzani the president of the Kurdistan region which suggests that CMC’s decision has not been based solely on performance, as it was previously claimed. 

Zain has been heavily investing in the Iraqi market with an 11 percent capital expenditure increase in 2021 compared to 2020. The group however witnessed an 18 percent in revenues from the Iraqi market, mainly due to the devaluation of the currency and to the coronavirus pandemic. This said, the operator has been working on developing its networks in addition to launching digital solutions such as the digital operator “oodi” which provides an all-digital mobile experience. Zain has also launched ZainCash in Iraq, providing digital financial services to its subscribers. 

The Iraqi market has also been an important market for Ooredoo. The country contributes to 12 percent of the company’s revenues. The expenditures share for the Iraqi market constitutes 14 percent of the group’s total. As in the case with Zain, Asiacell worked on offering digital solutions such youth-oriented mobile application “Yooz”. Digital payments, e-sports and e-commerce are other applications the company is working on. 

The local operator Korek, has also been investing in digital solutions which include its digital wallet NassWallet in addition to other mobile applications and services.

The latest OpenSignal report provides a preliminary ranking of the three operators in terms of the performance perceived on their corresponding networks. The report clearly indicates that Asiacell emerges as the winner of the video experience, download and upload experiences, 4G availability and 4G coverage. For the games and voice app experience, the three operators are proclaimed as equal winners. Beside the video experience, Zain is ranked second ahead of Korek with a notable advantage in 4G coverage experience. 

Lagging Severely in the Technology Race

Iraqi subscribers have been relying on relatively old 2G and 3G networks for their voice and data connectivity. This delay in adopting new technologies is attributed to many factors including social, political, and religious considerations. The tight regulatory measures by the CMC do not simplify problem. During the last couple of years, the 4G network has been gradually deployed over the territory. The CMC has renewed licenses for the three operatorsuntil 2030 in addition to granting them additional bands to expand their 4G network. 

While 4G is still a very recent addition to the technology suite in the country, the talk about 5G is currently out of question. The MoC has also been working on its fiber to the home network to provide broadband connectivity in the country. However, a report by the international trade administration claims that fiber prices are relatively high given the lack of competition and the MoC’s stronghold on the sector.

Therefore, as long as the Iraqi market is not liberalized, the adoption of newer technologies will remain slow and prone to political decisions. The incident between Korek and its foreign shareholders will certainly deter external players from entering the market, if they are even allowed to do so. The liberalization of the sector will also lead to higher competition, diversified services, and a much faster evolution of the sector. 

The Iraqi market is extremely promising though given the low mobile penetration rate compared to countries and in the region, and the relatively low adoption of internet services. The telecom sector should constitute an economic driving force for the country if an adequate plan is set up.


Iraq is a country which has long suffered from a succession of wars, internal conflicts and authoritarian regimes. This has presented a major hurdle to its progress, in particular, as far as the telecom sector is concerned. Similarly to other vital sectors, telecom is subject to geopolitical and social constraints that considerably slow down its development. Iraq with its size and large population has the possibility to be one of the leading markets in the region, akin to the Egyptian market. However, up to this moment, it has to rely primarily on 2G and 3G services while the 4G network is progressively being deployed. The lack of newer technology, and monopolization in the decision-making process hinder the development of new services that will increase the average revenue per user and subsequently upturn the contribution of the sector to the country’s gross domestic product. 

“Inside Telecom provides you with an extensive list of content covering all aspects of the tech industry. Keep an eye on our Telecoms, and  5G space to stay informed and up-to-date with our daily articles.”

Continue Reading