Positive developments are occurring for both Jordan’s fixed and mobile broadband sectors in 2016. The deployment of the national broadband network continues with the project now focusing on connecting the Northern governates via public facilities and there are plans to conduct a further tender for the second phase of the project in the near future. Funding for the NBN has been assisted by a Gulf Co-operation Council grant.

Internet access has been available in Jordan since 1996. Unlike many Arab countries, the Jordanian government has a relatively liberal attitude towards Internet access. Broadband represents the majority of subscriptions and competition is predominantly infrastructure based, with DSL, WiMAX and mobile the most popular platforms.

Mobile broadband in recent years has grown rapidly in terms of subscriptions, preceded by the launch of 3G/HSPA services. 4G LTE services became available in February 2015 when Zain Jordan began offering a number of priced bundles which utilize the network based on over 1,000 sites around the kingdom.

Orange Jordan was awarded a 4G license in early 2015 and launched 4G LTE in mid 2015; followed by Umniah which also began offering services in 2016. Development of 4G in Jordan is growing strongly with an estimated penetration of around 11-14% in 2016, according to Orange Jordan’s Deputy CEO. By 2020 4G penetration could reach as much as 70%.

Jordan possesses a high smart phone penetration of over 60% and the majority of users access OTT messaging apps via these devices. This has led to declining SMS revenues in recent years, similar to trends witnessed worldwide.

While Jordan is demonstrating positive developments towards fixed and mobile broadband development, it has some challenges including the ongoing influx of refugees from Iraq and Syria which places strain on the countries’ economy, infrastructure and society in general.

While Jordan also has a thriving ICT industry; the lack of a large market means entrepreneurs which establish tech start-ups in Jordan often target their products and services to the wealthy Gulf Region countries. Other challenges the Jordanian start-ups face is the lack of skilled talent, with wealthier markets in the region attracting Jordan’s technical talent.

For more information see – Jordan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband