According to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Kuwait’s Ministry of Communications (MoC) has called upon the country’s internet service providers (ISPs) to cut their prices in order to promote increased competition within the sector. Undersecretary Abdulmuhsen Al-Mazidi told KUNA that pricing was one of a number of issues that the MoC hopes to address in the coming months. He also stressed the importance of opening up the country’s broadband market for other ISPs. Al-Mazidi indicated that a new law promoting the creation of a Communication and Information Technology Institute – which will be charged with overseeing such issues – is set to be approved (in draft form) by the National Assembly Committee on Sunday.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in Kuwait there are four main players offering xDSL access: the Ministry of Communications (MoC) which provides services via its Zajil Telecom ISP division; Qualitynet, a Kuwait-Bahrain venture; Gulfnet, a member of the KIPCO Group; and FASTtelco. Although Kuwait is a relatively wealthy and well developed country, this is not reflected in the state of its broadband market and the MoC’s stranglehold over the country’s fixed line infrastructure continues to manifest itself in the stifling market conditions. As at end-March 2011, TeleGeography estimated that Kuwait had just 55,000 broadband subscribers.
In separate news, Sami Al-Nesef, Kuwait’s Minister of Information and Communication, has announced that the price of mobile phone calls is set be reduced in accordance with ministerial decision 119-2011. The reduced rates will apply to all calls placed within the national boundaries of countries belonging to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC was formed in May 1981 against the backdrop of the Islamic revolution in Iran and the Iraq-Iran war. Its members are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain; all six nations share similar political systems and cultural outlooks. No details of the new pricing scheme have been made available by the MoC.