Oman’s sole fixed line and mobile telecoms operator Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) has said it has installed a range of equipment from US-based Oracle Corporation over which it will launch a series of new SMS-based services. The telco is upgrading its mobile and messaging infrastructure in preparation for the liberalisation of Oman’s telecoms sector on 1 January 2004. In the first phase of the project, Oman’s Ministry of Education used the Oracle-based system to send exam grades to students via SMS.
Oman’s dispersed population makes it an ideal market for wireless opportunities, and with the penetration rate standing at just 16.5% at the end of 2002, there is plenty of scope for growth in the sector. As the country’s only mobile operator, Omantel has seen its cellular offering enjoy great popularity since it first launched services in 1993; at the end of 2002 it could claim 463,860 subscribers to its GSM network. Its pre-paid Hayyak service accounted for 53% of subscribers at the end of 2002, although Hayyak customers did not have access to SMS roaming until June 2003.