Kuwait’s three MNOs are offering LTE services and are exploring the 5G landscape, with Zain Kuwait, Viva Kuwait and Ooredoo Kuwait already rolling out 5G access, and expanding their broadband networks. Kuwait has an extremely high mobile penetration rate, currently standing at around 90 per cent, one of the highest in the world, according to GSMA Intelligence.
The country is also connected to seven submarine cables. This high penetration rate and strong mobile infrastructure driven by the three MNOs, means that Kuwait can easily scale up its 5G services. According to a report by budde.com, entitled Kuwait - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses, in 2019 the research firm was seeing 5G developments accelerate in Kuwait, with the operators beginning to formulate offerings around 5G service packages and devices.
However, according to the report, the country’s fixed broadband penetration is one of the lowest in the Middle East region. The Kuwait government is focusing on building fixed broadband networks and this sector also offers a potential future growth opportunity for both the operators and government.
According to Improvements to the fixed broadband infrastructure will assist to grow markets such as e-commerce, along with smart infrastructure development, start-ups and M2M. Kuwait’s MNOs are developing both infrastructure and services. In March 2017 Zain Kuwait and VIVA, in conjunction with Huawei and GSMA, successfully launched a VoLTE interconnection in Kuwait, according to Reuters.
The telecoms sector boom comes as the right time, as the nation looks to move away from just relying on oil revenues. According to Reuters, The National Bank of Kuwait recently detected a year-on-year growth in profit, contributed by the telecom sector.
The launch of the new Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) took place in February 2016 and in 2017 continues to establish its role, according to Reuters.