Umniah steals a march on rivals with ‘3.75G’ launch

18 Jun 2012

Bahrain-backed cellco Umniah Jordan has announced the launch of commercial services over its 3.5G dual carrier HSPA+ (DC-HSPA+) network, dubbed ‘evo’. Although Umniah is the last of the kingdom’s trio of wireless providers to introduce 3G services, with the implementation of the DC-HSPA+ upgrade which allows maximum theoretical download speeds of up to 42.2Mbps it has leapfrogged its opponents – both of which currently operate HSPA+ networks – and has begun advertising its new service as ‘3.75G’ to highlight the difference. The service is available for both mobile handsets and computers, with a range of pre- and post-paid plans. Pre-paid wireless customers, for example pay between JOD0.25 and JOD5 (USD0.35 and USD7) for either a day, a week or a month’s access with download limits of between 0.25GB and 2GB; if the cap is reached however, customers can continue to access the internet but at a speed of just 64kbps. Post-paid subscribers meanwhile have the option for unlimited data usage for JOD10 per month.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Umniah elected not to introduce 3G services earlier – Orange Jordan began offering 3G in February 2010, whilst Zain followed in March 2011 – as it felt that there were too many barriers limiting growth in the data segment. However, in December last year the cellco changed tack, saying that as smartphones were becoming more affordable and there was more Arabic-language content available, the market was mature enough to warrant entry. The cellco spent JOD100 million on rolling out the new network, JOD50 million of which was for the 3G concession.

Umniah’s marketing director Omar Al-Omoush commented at launch on the cellco’s efforts to further increase the amount of relevant content available to its subscribers: ‘At Umniah our main focus has always been exclusive content development with an emphasis on the Arabic content to offer our customers a unique experience. We are proud to partner with content developers from Jordan and abroad to guarantee this competitive advantage covering a wide range of offerings such as sports, entertainment, games, health, news, comedy, cooking, and kids related content.’

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