Jordanian cellco Umniah Telecommunications and Technology Company has announced plans to launch 3G services in the first half of 2012, according to CommsMEA. Despite being the last of the country’s three mobile operators to offer 3G services, Ihab Hinnawi, CEO of the Bahrain-owned telco is confident that it will be able to compete with the Jordan Telecom Group and Zain Jordan in the segment. Hinnawi stressed that the decision for a late entry into the 3G market was deliberate, as the cellco was waiting for certain specific developments in the sector to occur before it began work on delivering the technology. Umniah’s criteria for 3G entry that have now been met – or will be satisfied in 2012 – include smartphone availability and price, cost of service and availability of content in the region. Hinnawi claimed that most Jordanians could not afford to pay USD40-USD50 for a 3G connection, but if bundled with other services at a low rate it would be far more attractive and would still be a vehicle for growth, adding: ‘We are getting there…by Q1 2012, that trigger or jump of demand for mobile broadband will come, and we are preparing for that.’ It was not made clear whether or not Umniah had yet paid the JOD50 million (USD70.2 million) licence fee for a 3G concession. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, at the end of September 2011, there were an estimated 585,000 3G customers in Jordan, representing 7.6% of the total wireless market.
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