Umniah to launch 3G in H1 2012

CEO sees 3G market maturing in 2012 as demand grows
Hinnawi is optimistic about Umniah launching 3G services in 2012.
Hinnawi is optimistic about Umniah launching 3G services in 2012.


Jordanian telco Umniah has confirmed that it plans to launch 3G services in the first half of 2012, according to the company’s CEO, Ihab Hinnawi.

The CEO said that he was optimistic that Umniah would be able to attract 3G users despite being the third operator to launch 3G services after Orange Jordan and Zain Jordan.

While Orange and Zain have already attracted a significant number of 3G subscribers, Hinnawi believes that Umniah will still be in a strong position to attract users, partly because the market will be increasingly receptive to 3G in 2012.

“Even though the licencing of 3G was delayed for many years we still believe that if you want to have a huge pick up in 3G services you need to address three of four major issues,” he said.

“The first one is smartphone availability and prices. We now see devices sold at below $100 and operators can subsidise part of that if needed.

“The second part is availability of relevant content in the region, and we are seeing a pick up on that especially with the emergence of social media and other apps. The third part is the affordability of the service.”

Referring to the affordability of the service, Hinnawi said that people in Jordan cannot generally afford to pay $40-50 a month for a 3G connection. However, he added that if mobile broadband is bundled in the right way and at a low rate, then it should start to grow.

“We are getting there,” he says. “By Q1 2012, that trigger or jump of demand in mobile broadband will come, and we are approaching that.”

Umniah is a subsidiary of Bahrain's Batelco Group.

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