Those involved in the communications sector throughout the world have started to monitor and study the proliferation of the main communication services and their directions, with the departure of the year 2012, in order to be familiar with the latest development of these markets, and be aware of user-trends, whose reliance on mobile voice communications services, according to all studies and figures, is increasing, as well as their reliance on broadband internet for social communication or to run their business and economic affairs.
A quick reading of local government figures, published recently by the Jordanian Telecommunications Regulator Commission, statistics indicate an increase in the cellular and internet markets, with an increase in the levels of their proliferation, while land telephones continue to suffer from a marginalization by users, and a retreat in proliferation as its opponent, the cellular phone, pervades all details of daily life of Jordanians.
The Telecommunications Regulator Commission monitors the proliferation and popularity of main communications services at the end of each year, based on data provided by main communications companies operating the services (mobile phones, broadband internet, and landline services.)
Cellular Services Subscription Base Expands to Contain 9 Million Subscriptions
The service subscription base of the mobile phone market (the cellular, as Jordanians like to call it), operated by three main networks (Zain, Orange, and Umniah) has expanded to include, by the end of last year, about 9 million subscriptions, registering a proliferation rate of 138% of the population.
This high rate of proliferation (138%) does not mean that the service covers all residents of the Kingdom, but the phenomenon of having the service in more than one line or subscription for one subscriber contributed to the increase of this rate, as the competition increased in the market, and as offers provided by the three companies became more diverse.
For comparison purposes, the cellular service subscription base increased by 1.5 million subscriptions, at a rate of 20%, compared with the registered subscription base of last year 2012, when it reached 7.5 million subscriptions, at a proliferation rate of 120% at the time.
The prepaid subscription category continues to dominate the higher rate of cellular service subscriptions in the local market, providing a large opportunity to a wide category of cellular users to control their expenditure, pervading over 90% of total market subscription registered at the end of last year, when the number of subscription by this group reached about 8.3 million, while the post-paid invoiced category reached about 741,000 subscriptions.
Government statistics indicate that daily cellular services are available at 98% of Jordanian households, whereby Jordanians now rely on this service in their daily and practical lives, as service costs recede due to competition and the availability of different offers which fulfill the needs of various subscriber categories.
An independent Arab study published by the "Arab Guides," specialized in studying Arab communications markets, classified the Jordanian market as the second most competitive cellular market among the Arab region countries, after the Saudi market.
Expansion of the Broadband Internet Subscriber Base to Contain 993,000 Subscribers
As for the internet market, which provides its services to the Jordanian market in more than one wire and wireless technology, and more than one service provider for each technology, the internet subscriber base has also expanded, as is the case with the cellular, to include about 993,000 subscribers by the end of last year.
Internet services, however, grew over last year at a rate higher than cellular subscriptions, with the service subscriber base increasing by about 376,000 subscribers, at a rate of increase of 61%, when comparing with the registered service subscriber base at the end of the previous year 2011, reaching 617,000 subscribers.
The 3G internet technology had the largest share of total subscriptions in the broadband internet market in 2012, when it dominated 70% of the market subscriptions.
The "3G internet" internet subscriptions, which allow the use of the internet on cellular phones, or in computers using "dongles" recorded about 692,000 subscriptions, forming the largest number and share among internet subscriptions in their various technologies.
The local market now provides various methods and technologies to acquire broadband internet services, the first and oldest of which being the ADSL wire technology, which depends on a land line connection. There is also the WiMAX wireless technology, which is close to the 3G internet technology, which makes do without the land line for connection, but provides broadband internet service within a geographically limited area. The availability of these three main technologies has contributed to increasing competition in the internet market, especially that they are provided by more than one provider of each technology.
The third generation internet technology is defined as a wireless technology which provides cellular and internet services through cellular phones and computers at high speeds, but is distinguished from WiMAX by the comprehensive service provided without geographic limitations, provided it is covered by the third generation network. It is now provided by three main networks (Orange, Zain, and Umniah).
The WiMAX technology is considered a basic option for those who do not have a landline in their homes. It does not depend on landlines in its installation and operation, and is now provided by three companies, after two companies stopped providing the service. The number of subscriptions to this technology reached about 103,000 only by the end of last year.
The ADSL technology, however, is the oldest in the market, among technologies providing broadband internet. It is installed through a landline, and is characterized by being the most reliable and stable, compared to wireless technologies. It does not, however, provide the benefit of mobility, and is provided by 8 main suppliers in the local market. Subscribers to this technology reached about 193,000 by the end of 2012.
Internet services entered the Jordanian market for the first time in the mid 1990’s. The ADSL started to expand by the beginning of the last decade, while the WiMAX technology made an appearance in 2007. The 3G internet technology made its first appearance during the first quarter of 2010.
Landline Telephone Subscriptions Retreat, Registering 400,000 Subscriptions
As for landline telephones, this service continues to witness a retreat, affected by the pervasion of its opponent, the "cellular," which entered every home, with more than one line for each member of the Jordanian family.
Statistics by the Communications Commission show that landline telephones recorded about 400,000 subscribers at the end of last year.
Numbers of service subscriptions retreated last year by 6%, or about 23,000 subscribers, compared to service subscriptions recorded in 2011, reaching 424,000 subscribers.
Numbers of landline subscriptions were distributed over two categories by the end of 2012, the first and the largest being the household category, with about 261,000 subscriptions, and the second being business companies, with 140,000 subscriptions.
The first appearance of landline telephone services in Jordan was four decades ago, and this service continued until the beginning of the last decade, to be the main mode of communication until the cellular phone appeared and spread in the Kingdom.