Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/07/2014 -- The Kuwaiti government clamped down on expatriate workers in 2013, with plans to cut its 1.8mn expatriates by 100,000 annually over the next decade. This poses a downside risk to our subscriptions growth outlook on the back of a higher negative net migration rate. In view of this development, we reiterate our view that Kuwaiti telecoms services providers, particularly the country's three mobile operators, must diversify their services portfolios and, consequently, revenue streams to offset the expected decline in revenues from traditional services on the back of market saturation and intense competition.
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- The mobile sector was flat on a q-o-q basis in Q313, compared to growth of 4% during the same period in 2012.
- Monthly blended ARPU was also flat in Q313 as an increase in Zain's Q313 ARPU offset a decline in Wataniya's ARPU during the same period.
Kuwait is in fifth position on BMI's Q114 Risk/Reward Ratings table, unchanged from the period quarter's update. The country's aggregate score of 57.6 is higher than the regional average score of 52.1. Kuwait scores highly in the Country Rewards and Country Risk categories owing to a high GDP per capita and urbanisation rate as well as strong external reserves and private consumption outlook. However, the country's Industry Rewards score is held back by slow subscriptions growth owing to market saturation. The Industry Risk score reflects the government's continued supervision of the telecoms sector though the Ministry of Communications (MoC) as opposed to an independent telecoms regulator.
Key Trends And Developments
Following the launch of commercial LTE services in late 2012 and early 2013, Kuwait's mobile network operators and now looking to deploy the LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) mobile data technology to boost their networks' capability to transmit bandwidth-heavy data. VIVA announced its LTE network upgrade plans in September 2013. The operator's core network has already been upgraded to support theoretical download speeds of up to 1Gbps. VIVA has started end-user trials on its LTE-A network, although a date for commercial launch was yet to be announced at the time of writing.
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