Despite significant consolidation in the past decade, the telecoms sector in the Middle East and Africa retains a vibrant mix of different telecom groups that are responsible for offering the region’s mobile and fixed line services. CommsMEA assesses the top players.

With competition increasing year on year in the region’s telecoms sector, the number of different telecom groups has declined, as a result of industry consolidation.

Indeed, operators that are part of a bigger group realise cost savings and other advantages that can give them an edge over independent players. But as this powerlist amply demonstrates, there remain a good number of telecom groups and independent players in the region, and homegrown operators such as Etisalat, MTN and Qtel continue to offer stiff competition to their rivals from other continents, such as the UK’s Vodafone Group and India’s Airtel.

The list also highlights some of the success stories that have helped propel some of the operators into this list. Indeed, in Africa, new services in the field of mobile banking have had a profound effect on revenues that may otherwise have been in decline.

The list is also a reminder of the need to look outside the markets in which we live to learn more about the relative size of different operator groups, and to keep a check on the competition. Indeed, some of the operators and group’s in the list are seek less publicity than others, but this does not neccessariy means that they will have less success in the market. A less known player today could well become a major competitor tomorrow.