Based on quarterly financial data from Qtel and Vodafone, researcher Business Monitor International said that Qatar’s mobile market has declined for the first time ever this year.
BMI attributed the drop – a .1 percent decline during the second quarter this year compared to the same period last year – to a number of factors, including the demise of Qtel’s Virgin Mobile, which ictQatar shut down this summer.
“This represented the first-ever quarterly contraction of the Qatari mobile market. It was driven by subscriber net loss by Qtel for the fourth consecutive quarter and net additions of just 4,000 by Vodafone, which was considerably fewer than in previous quarters.
“It is likely Vodafone has started discounting inactive SIMs on its network, a move that poses a downside risk to our growth forecast. We downgraded our mobile growth expectations this quarter to reflect the likelihood of inactive SIM discounting that will continue in the market. We now expect mobile penetration to reach 190.2% by 2015,” the report said.
In contrast, BMI forecasts that wireless broadband usage will double in the next four years.