The TRA looks forward to achieving the following objectives during 2013
As an important soft infrastructure, telecoms have been a significant enabler and stimulant in driving the economy. Connectivity and high speed broadband are key factors in helping the economy grow and enhancing the competitiveness of business and industry. One of the key elements of Vision 2020 of Oman is to diversify the economy into non-oil sectors, and the eOman plan has identified developing a knowledge based society in playing a significant role in this diversification process. Telecoms are recognized and play its role as major enabler in achieving the objective of a knowledge based society.
As is the case elsewhere in the world, broadband has assumed centre-stage in the ICT sector in Oman. Fibre deployment and LTE applications are much in demand by consumers, industry and trade in satisfying their requirements for speed of delivery of services. Fibre deployment for backbone, backhaul and access networks is seen as a rock solid investment opportunity along with investment in mobile networks, primarily for mobile data services. Machine to machine (M2M) communications and cloud computing services are also seen as an emerging market and represent further investment opportunities.
Technological developments including convergence of telecom and information services and the disappearance of delivery platforms pose considerable challenges to the regulatory regime. The TRA is aware of the opportunities available in the ICT sector as a result of cloud computing and M2M communications, and is reviewing the current regulations to direct the growth of the sector within the provisions of the law.
The TRA works closely with the government and its agencies to promote investment in the sector and accordingly directs its licensing policy. For the purpose of ensuring competition in the market, the TRA administers both ex ante and ex post regulations in line with international practices. TRA’s preference is to regulate the wholesale markets in preference to retail markets so that retail players could be subject to lighter regulation. In addition, an ex ante approach is adopted in markets dominated by one or two players so that consumers can demand affordable prices and quality of service.
Oman is improving in terms of the indices that measure connectivity, ICT provision of services and eGovernance. The key is to enhance the competitive advantage of Oman’s businesses and the TRA, in cooperation with the ITA and the government, is formulating policies and programs to realize the national objectives in respect of eOman. As a national initiative the government is resolved to make Oman a knowledge society by 2020 and the country is effectively moving towards that goal. Citizens, businesses and government establishments located anywhere will have access to high speed internet and other basic telecom services within the next five years. This is being planned as part of a national broadband strategy that is being implemented by the government.