Oman’s economy has steadily improved in 2018 from the clutches of low oil prices of immediate previous years and is on a steady path of consolidation and diversification. The government has initiated the process of developing a vision document for the year 2040 assigning the ICT sector its key role as an enabler and a major contributor to the economy.
There are two significant and important achievements that occurred during the year under performance reviews. The TRA successfully managed the process of publishing of the reference access and interconnection offers (RAIOs) by the dominant licensees, a much awaited and welcome signal to pave the way for further competition and concluded the preparatory and administrative actions required to renew the class I mobile licenses due in 2019 and 2020 Omantel and Ooredoo respectively. A royal decree No 15/2019 for the renewal of mobile license has been released subsequently (23 January 2019 for Omantel).
The national level team that has been established for the fifth generation (5G) of the International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT) is continuing its efforts for engaging with the stakeholders and international community to learn and adopt best practices relevant to Oman. The initial spectrum ranges in the band of 3.4 GHz have been allocated to the existing two mobile licensees following the approved policy for spectrum allocation. Pilot projects for provision of 5G services to the business community are on the anvil by both the licensed operators. The allocation of spectrum resources to existing and proposed third mobile operator would be on equitable basis.
Oman Broadband Company has received its class I license (in January 2019) for the establishment and provision of broadband services in the Sultanate. The year also saw the emergence of Oman Tower Company, a government initiative to facilitate the passive infrastructure in the form of mobile sites and towers that is aimed to promote infrastructure sharing and environmental protection. Oman Satellite Company also came into being to announce the arrival in the space program and support the ICT sector in reaching out services to difficult terrain inhabited areas. All these initiatives of the government are aimed to augment and support the infrastructure base needed for the ICT sector. The application for the award of the third mobile license has been received by the TRA and the current indications are that the license would be granted in 2019. The level of competition in the Omani mobile market is expected to enhance consequently resulting in wider choice to the consumers in terms of price and quality of services.
As a sector member, the TRA is participating in the ongoing ICT strategy formulation undertaken by the Ministry of Transport & Communications with a view to strengthen the policy framework. In the logistics sector the TRA is actively engaged with the attempts to promote e-commerce activities as a means to engage in the growing digital transformation witnessed across the globe. Cross sector cooperation and evolution of innovative channels of delivering electronic services is an ongoing initiative. The postal services sector is also engaged in the e-commerce transformation phase with its policies and regulations tuned to facilitate growth in this sector.
We owe all the developments in the ICT sector and the rest of the economy to the ever glowing visionary guidance being provided by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos and His commitment to realize Oman as a country of opportunities for youth and growth. I thank the staff of TRA and our sector members for their continued pursuit to achieve excellence in their respective engagements and functions.
Dr. Mohammed bin Hamad Al-Rumhi
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
Sultanate of Oman