Ever Cheaper Internet

Even though many of us enjoy nothing more than complaining about the ever increasing taxes and charges on our mobile bills, it’s hard not to begrudgingly admit that for most Jordanians accessing the Internet from smartphones, it has never been cheaper for pre-paid users thanks to the increasingly heated competition amongst providers.

Over recent months, the big three telcos: Zain, Orange, and Umniah, have seemingly been locked in a game of one-upmanship over who can offer the best value monthly packages for pay-as-you-go customers, a group that easily makes up the bulk of the market.

At the time of going to press, Orange was offering 3 GB of data as part of its JD6 Ghair Shekl package. Umniah’s Khat al Thahabi package was attempting to lure customers by offering them a 7 GB Internet bundle for JD7. While Zain’s Mish Tabee3i Turbo was offering users 5 GB for JD9.

While there are indeed several cheeky caveats tucked away in the terms and conditions of these offers, there’s no denying how their relatively affordable cost is helping to drive greater Internet penetration in Jordan. According to the TRC, the amount of 3G subscriptions rose 44 percent to around 1.2 million last year.

Many in the industry are also taking these deals as a sign of real competition between providers, and as further proof that a fourth operator isn’t in fact needed, even if one could be found. “There is surely effective and real competition in Jordan,” said Jawad Abbasi, the founder and general manager of tech consultancy the Arab Advisors Group. “There was a tender that could have allowed a fourth operator in. No companies bid. Objectively, I doubt there are many investors who would want to be a fourth network infrastructure-based operator in Jordan based on current market conditions.”