A showcase of the Middle East’s emerging ICT
An important showcase of the Middle East’s emerging ICT sector, Jordan boasts a a burgeoning technology start up industry and a modern liberalised telecoms market.
Privatised incumbent Jordan Telecom Group is majority owned by France Telecom and operates as Orange Jordan. Despite liberalisation Jordan Telecom Group maintains a stronghold on the fixed market. Competition is strongest in the broadband and mobile markets, based predominantly on infrastructure.
Jordan’s broadband market is served by a number of technology platforms including DSL, FttX, WiMAX, leased line and mobile. Jordan recently announced plans to revive its National Broadband Network after construction was halted due to lack of funds. WiMAX makes up a significant proportion of total fixed broadband subscriptions although its long term prospects are questionable given the growing popularity of mobile broadband.
Jordan has emerged as a regional tech start up hub due to an ICT focused education system, low start up costs and business-friendly government. Its growing reputation is increasingly attracting international capital eager to tap into the region’s underserved growing online market. Due to country’s small market, most start ups in Jordan either focus exclusively on or grow with the expectation of expanding into the wealthy markets of the Middle East’s Gulf Region.
Jordan’s thriving start up scene has in turn, underpinned Jordan’s digital economy, which incorporates e-commerce, e-health, e-education and e-government. Most activity and attention is focused on the e-commerce sector given the commercial opportunities available. Tackling one of the largest impediments to e-commerce development in Jordan and the Middle East in general, the Central Bank of Jordan’s has adopted a strategy for 2013 – 2017 to develop the legal framework and infrastructure for all e-payments systems in Jordan.
Three network operators compete in the mobile market, which made up predominantly of prepaid users. All three have launched HSPA+ networks, which is underpinning mobile broadband growth. The potential for large scale mobile Internet penetration due to competition has captured the attention of Jordan’s technology start up companies, with many developing apps to target the higher spending demographic traditionally associated with Mobile Internet early adopters. Jordan’s initiative to develop an e-payment infrastructure coincides with a rollout of Near Field Communications (NFC) mobile payment terminals across Jordan by MasterCard and a number of partners.
Key telecom parameters – 2012; 2014
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