Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Sultanate of Oman

July, 19, 2006
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CHAIRMAN OVERVIEW

I really feel privileged to present to you the second Annual Report of TRA, focusing the key activities of the Authority during 2005. Last year has been a landmark year in terms of liberalization of the

telecommunications sector culminating in the introduction of competition in mobile sector. The competition between Oman mobile and Nawras was conducive to a decline in prices and customers were able to base their choice on many aspects such as quality of service, customer care, tariff and network coverage. Another remarkable achievement due to competition was the country’s mobile teledensity reaching up to 56.4 percent, where the number of total subscribers reached 1.333.225 in December 2005 with growth of 65 percent since the previous year. One of the major functions of the Authority is to safeguard the interests of beneficiaries of the telecommunication services in respect of the prices of the telecommunication equipment, quality and efficiency of the telecommunication services provided by its licensees. With this objective in view, the Authority had examined different tariff proposals filed by operators and ensured fairness of the prices and facilitation of market movement towards a competitive tariff regime. TRA is also responsible for efficient management of the national numbering resources. TRA implemented a new 8 digits numbering scheme for both Fixed and Mobile services to cater for numbering requirements for next 20 years. During the previous year, the old 3 digits short codes were changed to 4 digits short codes. These short codes are used by telecommunication network operators to provide particular services exclusively to their subscribers and also used for public services such as emergency services etc. TRA had also instructed the mobile operators to implement Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and these directives are expected to be an impetus to further competition in the Mobile Market.

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One of the major issues that were dealt with by TRA in the foregoing year was the preparation of the National Frequency Allocation and Assignment Plan to ensure the efficient management and use of radio spectrum. On the other hand, TRA played a dynamic role by participating in Arab, regional and international meetings and conferences. TRA actively participated in FTA negotiations that were held between Oman and USA in the fields of telecommunications sector, electronic commerce and cross border trade services. I am proud to acknowledge the hard work and efforts done by members and employees of the TRA to fulfil its objectives. We appreciate the cooperation of the management of all telecom service providers to bring about TRA’s efforts to a success in executing the tasks assigned to it. On behalf of the members, I feel honoured to express our sincere gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said for his revolutionary vision and support to expand telecom sector throughout the Sultanate effectively and efficiently.

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The Staff and Management Team When first commenced its operation in 2002. and as competition in the telecom market proceeded. 4 . the national telecommunications network and services in Sultanate of Oman were owned by the Government (formerly known as the General Telecommunications Organization. there were five (5) directorates with 17 departments in TRA and a total of 62 staff working under the organization. as TRA was established. where the Minister acted as the Chairman of the Company. a minimum of three members of a temporary committee were appointed in TRA with the Minister of Transport and Communication the Chairman of the Authority. Until 2002. 30/2002 as a result of Government's initiative to liberalize the telecom sector in Oman and transform the monopolistic telecommunications market into a competitive one. Such transformation required regulatory intervention to permit viable competition to emerge and to facilitate transparency in the liberalization process. and as the responsibilities and functions of the Authority grew. In 2002. TRA implemented the Government policies in an objective and impartial manner.1. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority The Organization The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority is a body corporate established under the Telecommunications Regulatory Act issued under the Royal Decree No. By the end of 2005. the ability of TRA to act towards all market participants independently from the Government and operators was enhanced. the number of staff increased. As a separate entity. GTO) and the Ministry of Transport and Communications preformed the role of telecommunications policy maker. there were few employees recruited.

The management team in TRA comprises individuals with many years of experience in the field of telecom in all its technical.In selecting its team. efficiency and independency of the individuals selected and the degree of proficiency and expertise of the managerial working party. economical. financial as well as legal aspect. professionalism. 5 . TRA paid a great attention on the qualification level.

In 2005. Apart from the economical aspect of regulatory basis. 6 . affordable prices and efficient supply of telecommunications services. new technologies. It is not the objective of TRA to be involved in detailed management of the sector. TRA has accomplished a great deal in terms of regulating and monitoring the telecom sector in the Sultanate. TRA aims at creating a favorable climate to promote public confidence in telecommunications markets through transparent regulatory and licensing process. instead it is mainly involved in maintenance of a regulatory environment conducive to the efficient supply of telecommunications services to the public. fostering competitive markets to promote good quality of services. numbers and rights of way. technical and radio spectrum management are two other main areas of Authority's operations. In order to execute its objectives. TRA as well. TRA attempts progressively to remove all barriers to market entry and allow interested investors to enter the Omani telecom market. and ensuring no unfair cross subsidy of services. TRA is accountable for monitoring the telecom market in its economical aspect. TRA continued to fulfill its objectives and duties that lie in ensuring that telecommunications services are supplied in a manner consistent with national perceptions of the public interest. creating strong market growth. which constitutes reducing barriers to entry. rapid innovation. As part of its responsibilities. persist in protecting consumer right and considers it as a vital objective. Among its diverse responsibilities. ensuring efficient use of natural and scarce resources of radio spectrum. TRA Regulatory Framework In its successive third year. it therefore strives to ensure customers' satisfaction in the quality of telecom service and the availability of services for all users.2.

it is liable to propose policy implementation strategies regarding Universal Access in the Sultanate of Oman to expand telecommunication access networks to cover a wider proportion of the population and geographical areas. and prepares the necessary technical specifications and standards for import and use of telecommunications equipment besides setting obligations of such equipment. international representation and legal affairs directorate of the Authority assists in this regard by identifying the policies for the telecommunications sector. and reports on the long term effects of alternative policies on domestic and international telecom industries and services. 7 . who issues approvals for the use of telecommunications equipment for which no technical specifications or standards have been determined. TRA ensures that operators execute the terms and conditions as per their licenses.Duties and Functions TRA implements the approved general policy for the telecommunications sector in accordance to the programs prepared by the Authority for this purpose. proposing suggested changes on the existing policies necessary for the betterment of the telecom sector. and particularly. The Authority also prepares all necessary programs and plans to develop the general policy of the telecommunications sector. All telecommunications equipment are administrated by TRA. and allocates and monitors the provisions of the use of radio spectrum in accordance with international treaties to which the Sultanate is a party. and all proposed interconnection agreements between the operators should be approved by the Authority. Furthermore. The TRA in managing the radio spectrum prepares national frequency allocation plan and determines the telecommunications systems and services that can be undertaken by radio licensee. It also prepares proposed amendments to radio licenses. national numbering plan allocated to operators beside domain name allocation all are set and supervised by the Authority. The policy .

long distance and international carriage. reduction of prices. Seeing the growth trend of mobile services around the world and the excessive demand for it. Issuance of Telecom Licenses In the course of liberalization and open market reform. TRA had announced its intention to appoint a consultant to 8 . it was important for TRA to initiate competition in mobile services. analysis of the requests for licenses and to monitor the obligations of the service providers. tariffs and network coverage. and qualification criteria. customer care. The benefits of competition will facilitate efficiency. Currently there is one Basic Public Fixed Telecommunications operator and two Basic Public Mobile Telecommunications operators in the market. increase investment in infrastructure and better customer choices.3. The competition introduced in the mobile sector created a healthy market environment where resources were allocated appropriately and fairly. the liberalization plan was set in action in 2003 under the regulation of TRA. TRA intends to open competition for other telecom services gradually. As part of the national strategy and Oman's commitments to the WTO. The TRA is responsible for the preparation of licenses. Liberalization of the Telecom Sector Sultanate of Oman realized the importance of a liberal telecom market regime in developing the economy and enhancing the private sectors. TRA is considering introducing competition in the Basic Public Fixed Telecommunications Services for local access. licensing process is generally regarded as one of the most important regulatory processes undertaken by the Authority. In order to form a liberal telecommunications sector. The instigation of competition between Oman Mobile Company and Nawras allowed prices to decline and customers could base their choices on many aspects such as quality of service.

and Public Data Network services. TRA will soon open the telecom market for Class II those who meet the qualifying criteria. The objective is to introduce new sort of technologies and services in the market and provide customers with greater range of choices at lower prices. TRA is also in the process of formulating regulations and procedures for issuance of Class III licenses. 9 .assist in the introduction of competition and preparation of licenses for Basic Fixed Public Telecommunications Services. As well.

Over last year. Month Source: Oman Mobile and Nawras 10 . Mobile Communication As the new operator. Number of Mobile Subscribers in 2005 1400000 Number of Subscribers 1200000 1000000 800000 600000 400000 200000 May Mar Apr Nov Aug Oct Dec 0 Feb Jan Jun Jul Sep subscribers in 2005. due to competition resulting decline in prices of services offered and enhancement in their quality of services. yet it has created a wave of transforms shows monthly the in trend the of mobile sector. the sole provider of basic access services and internet. radical transformation was observed in the Omani mobile market. the sector has witnessed significant changes such as competition in mobile that helped in bringing efficiency and good quality of services at competitive prices. there are three leading telecom service providers in the Omani telecom market. Telecommunication Market Statistic Telecom sector is one of the most important sectors of the economy. Oman Telecommunications Company. Figure 1 mobile Figure 1.4. Nawras commenced its services during 2005. Oman Mobile and Nawras are basic mobile communications services operators. Mobile Usage: Although competition in the cellular mobile sector is still in its infancy stages. tariffs. The following sections discuss growth of telecommunications in these services. quality of service as well as traffic. The two mobile operators witnessed several developments during the year reflected in their mobile usage. As to date.

The pre-paid subscribers represented 81 per cent of the total market by December 2005. which could be due to the convenience use of pre-paid services compared to the post-paid. 11 . Number of Post-Paid and PrePaid Subscribers in 2005 1200000 1000000 800000 600000 400000 200000 0 Mar Feb Aug Sep May Nov Jan Jun Apr Jul Oct Dec Number of Subscribers Post Paid Pre Paid Month Source: Oman Mobile and Nawras Figure 2 shows the trend of in both pre-paid and post paid subscribers from January to December 2005. The entry of Nawras has no doubt increased the demand for mobile services as prices declined due to competition. The annual comparison of mobile market performance shows that the number of mobile subscribers increased by 65 per cent from 806.333. Figure 2.112) by both operators by the end of the year 2005.6 per cent compared to the last year.113) and post-paid (253.There were 1. Prepaid and Postpaid Analysis shows that the demand for pre-paid exceeded the demand for post-paid in the Sultanate.080. which is in line with the international trend.225 subscribers in December 2005.333. As revealed in Figure 2.280 in December 2004 to 1. while post-paid subscribers constituted around 19 per cent. the number of mobile pre-paid subscribers increased by 97 per cent whereas the number of post-paid subscribers decreased by 1.225 subscribers for both pre-paid (1.

590 and 27.55 per minute to Bz. the market share of Nawras was 18. the monthly average growth in number of mobile subscribers was 23.55 per minute to Bz.20 and Bz.O 14.O 19 to R. SMS during peak hours was costing Bz. On average. the penetration rate in the Sultanate still remains low compared to regional countries.10 during off-peak hours by both the operators. the tariff was distance-based ranging from 12. 12 . Oman Mobile has reduced its off-peak voice tariffs from Bz.10 per massage for both Oman Mobile and Nawras.Market Share With 1. The mobile teledesity was 56. whereas prior to that. Prior to the flat rate tariff. The most significant change was the introduction of flat rates for pre-paid voice tariffs in March 2005.355 mobile subscribers.870. Pre-paid Tariff Both operators have reduced their activation fee from R. In addition.3 percent and its total number reached at 243. the movement of mobile tariffs is in continuous decline and each operator is striving to offer attractive prices to its customers. Mobile Tariffs As competition intensifies. Oman Mobile has made several changes in its tariff plans.45 per minute while Nawras has reduced its tariff from Bz. The new system came in line with the launch of Nawras on 16th of March 2005.5 baiza per minute to 100 baiza per minute depending on the distance slab. Mobile Teledensity Teledensity is an important indicator widely used to describe the mobile subscribers as a percentage of population. SMS charges became standard one at Bz.7 percent by the end December 2005 and it continued to have dominant market power. This is naturally expected in the first few years of competition as Oman Mobile was the sole and dominant mobile service provider under the roof of the incumbent. Although increasing.4 per cent in december 2005 comapred to 34.100 for Oman Mobile and Nawras respectively. By December 2005.39 per minute.089. the Oman mobile share in the market was 81.1 per cent in December 2004.

one is the "Mada Plan". Oman Mobile introduced two approaches to attract more customers into its market.40. An average per minute call from Oman Mobile network to other networks would be Bz. such as offering promotions on regular basis. Competition between the two operators is not only based on price reduction strategy where one has greater advantage in prices. while Nawras offers Bz.19 per minute for calls within Nawras network. is charging more for calls made offnetwork seeing that it involves higher cost for interconnecting to other networks. noting that both Nawras and Oman Mobile offer identical monthly rental fee of R.O 3 per month). The second strategy was the "Family and Friends discount" concept. it is also based on the differentiated products they offer. Post-paid Tariff In terms of post-paid products. Nawras. for example.19 per minute on calls from Nawras to Nawras.9 per month to R. it would be economical to subscribe to Nawras network. which facilitates customers to budget their monthly calls and enables them to plan in advance accordingly.39 per minute for calls to Oman Mobile and Omantel and Bz. Oman Mobile's average price per minute is Bz.O 3. there would be minimum differences between the two products (average of Bz.40. Each company attempts to make additional offers and introduce new technology-based services to stimulate more customers. which offers 10 per cent discount for calls made by an Oman Mobile subscribers to two 13 .It is perceptible that competition between Oman Mobile and Nawras instigated review of pricing. For customers with regular calls within Nawras network. while a call from Nawras to other network such as Oman Mobile and Omantel will cost Bz.O 3 per month (Nawras reduced its monthly fee from R. The plan was introduced in April 2005 as an attempt to make the post-paid service attractive and compatible to pre-paid services. Operator's tariffs depend on interconnection cost. and for customers with regular calls to Oman Mobile and Omantel.39 per minute and will cost Bz. Customers' choice between the two products should be based on cost-effectiveness.39/min for Nawras).40/ min for Oman Mobile compared to Bz.

4 per cent increase). on the other hand introduced the Bz.3 Fixed-line Post Paid and Pre Paid Subscribers in 2005 300. Figure. Nawras.specified lines within Oman Mobile's network. The promotions have become a permanent feature of their marketing strategy and throughout the year there is some promotion going on by each operator.4 shows the fixed line subscribers by region.237 compared to 246.000 0 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Post Paid Jul Aug Sep Pre Paid Oct Nov Dec Source: Oman Telecommunication Company The number of subscribers has been growing on average 1500 per month from January to December 2005. As seen in the graph. By end of December 2005 the total number of fixed line subscribers were 265.000 250.000 50.3 shows the monthly change in post-paid and pre-paid fixed line subscribers from January to December 2005. the growth rate on the other hand has been steady. Muscat has the largest fixed line subscribers followed by Batinah and lastly is Wusta.978 subscribers in December 2004 (7. Both the operators are striving for expanding their respective subscriber-base and are offering promotion tariffs.000 200. Fixed Line Service Although the number of fixed line subscribers has been increasing. Both Nawras and Oman Mobile tactics aim to entice more customers into their network. 14 . Figure.000 150.19 for On-network calls to attract more customers. Figure.000 100.

Post-Paid and Pre-paid The pre-paid service "Sahl" for fixed line has been increasing over the year. basic access service still maintains low penetration Number of Subscribers Figure. While post-paid still remains static increasing at a lower rate as shown in figure.Penetration rate In terms of teledensity. or it could be due to low demand for the service due to substitution of mobile. which is mainly due to prepaid Ufaq and higher demand for ADSL than dial-up service. On average. the number of dial-up internet subscribers has been decreasing over the months. where the rate was approximately 10.732 in December 2004 (3.65 per cent. Internet subscribers were 49. and remained low as compared to 23 21 2 17 12 6 18 32 1 39 16 4 Dhofar Sharqiya Dakhaliya Batinah Dhahira 14 35 1 Musandam Muscat Regions Source: Oman Telecommunication Company the regional countries and not improved much since December 2004.425 in December 2005 compared to 47. In December 2005. Omantel introduced the ADSL service in December 2004.3 above. Internet Services Internet service is also provided by Oman Telecommunication Company.5 Per cent increase).422 subscribers in December 2005. pre paid Ufaq.019 in December 04 showing an increase of 54 per cent. ADSL.4 Number of Fixed-Line Subscribers by Region 120000 100000 80000 60000 40000 20000 0 -20000 10 97 76 rate compared to regional countries. 15 Wusta 27 66 20 4 . Low teledensity could be due to limited coverage within the Sultanate areas. however the service was available for residential customers in January 2005. reaching 25. There are four main types of internet service that Omantel provides. the rate was 11 per cent. dial-up subscription. as compared to 10. other broadband and leased line services.

600 cards for RO 6 denomination (332. dial-up ADSL & Leased Line Internet Prepaid “Al-Ufaq” Another major access to the internet is through prepaid cards called Al-Ufaq.000 hours) and 6. This allows customers to access internet with a duration determined by the value of the card. dial-up 41. Cyber café Cyber Café is a popular source of internet use.5 Internet subscribers in 2005 ADSL 8.400 for RO 10 denomination (262. being cheaper and convenient.339 Figure. The number of ADSL subscribers has increased by an average of 680 subscribers per month from January to December 2005. Prepaid internet cards are good for budget conscious consumers. There is increase in the growth of internet Café from 80 in December 2004 to 124 in December 2005. 400 hours through 16. There is need to expand this facilities to other cities and rural areas too. 400 hours) in December 2005.Nevertheless. The number of hours sold in December 2005 is 35 percent higher than the December 2004 which indicates that the use of prepaid internet cards is increasing substantially over the period of time. the market share for dial-up subscribers is higher since ADSL was only introduced recently in December 2004 and relatively expensive for those who have limited use.086 Figure. ADSL and leased line in the third quarter of 2005. Most of the cyber cafes are in urban areas (more than 100 in Muscat only).5 demonstrates the number of internet subscribers for dial-up. Omantel offers two types of cards with a value of RO 6 and RO 10 having duration of 20 and 41 hours respectively. Omantel sold approximately 594. Most of the people who do not have PC at home use Cyber café for internet. 16 .

The approved tariff proposals ranged from marketing promotions to new service tariffs. Most of the offers were of promotional nature restricted to 2-3 months in order to test the grounds. this year witnessed quite innovative and non traditional pricing offers from both the operators. With this objective in view. the Authority had examined different tariff proposals filed by operators during the year 2005. the Authority had realized that Interconnection will be a central and essential factor for facilitating 17 . Interconnection In the telecom market. Since the introduction of competition in the Omani telecom market. the interconnection is a corner stone of competition. a number of competitive offers were introduced by the new operator. The year under report was the first year of competition in the cellular mobile sector in Sultanate of Oman. However during the period under report most of the proposals focused on the promotional offers. However. The main thrust of the Authority while examining such proposals was to ensure fairness of the prices and facilitation of market movement towards a competitive tariff regime. Major focus of the operators remained on attracting the new customers and increasing their customer base. For instance Wireless Hotspots Internet service was approved during the year as a new service to be offered by Omantel. Economic Activities Tariffs One of the major functions of the Authority is to safeguard the interests of beneficiaries of the telecommunication services in respect of the prices of the telecommunication equipment and quality and efficiency of the telecommunications services provided by its licensees.5. In response to the competitive offers of the new entrant the incumbent operator also tried to come up with matching new options and better offers for the subscribers. impact on competition and consumer welfare. Any filed proposal is assessed based on the possible market outcomes. After launch of Nawras in March 2005.

The consultant’s report will be of vital importance in issuing the determination and setting the basis for fair Interconnection in the market. The incumbent operator was thus mandated to produce RIO for its interconnection services. The draft produced has been shared with the new entrant and other potential licensees and stakeholders for their input. Omantel and Oman Mobile. which will advise the Authority on a number of interconnection pricing issues. awaiting the determination to be given by the Authority mainly on the level of interconnection charges for different interconnection services. these are a step forward to achieve a balanced and fair interconnection regime in the telecom market in the Sultanate Oman. the Authority put a lot of stress on developing a regulatory framework. the Authority is doing its best to ensure that interconnection between operators is based on fair and judicious arrangements and the dominant operator does not take undue advantage of its market power. the TRA seeks to ensure access of telecommunication services to all citizens at affordable prices. Since the final agreement could not be reached between the operators. The new entrant has been given the opportunity to negotiate the terms and conditions of RIO. however. In order to be fair and transparent and to use international experience for this very critical and complex issue. the service providers are operating under Interim Interconnection Agreements. TRA has statutory role to protect consumers interest. However. The consultant has been hired. Consumer Affairs Under the Telecom Act 2002. which can ensure quick and smooth interconnection agreements between the parties. the Authority decided to engage an international consultancy. use of Reference Interconnect Offer (RIO) is considered a very useful tool for this purpose. 100% achievement of this 18 . As a common practice world over. In carrying out this responsibility . To this end. The report of the consultant is expected to be finalized by the second quarter of next year. Although these negotiations are not yet conclusive.competition. In order to achieve this objective. The ideal mechanism to achieve this objective is competition. The Authority will then issue a determination on the issues in dispute between Nawras.

The consumer complaints are given high priority and the operators are directed to address the complaints within the shortest possible time. In -house Studies The TRA conducts in-house studies periodically to assess and evaluate market performance. However. the Authority through the Internal Planning. in 2005 the Authority initiated the process of formulating Universal Service Policy. The result of the study was presented in WSIS exhibition "ICT 4 All" in Tunis in November 2005. fixed and internet services. whereby the Government can ensure Universal Access to all its citizens. 19 . and ensuring sustainability of such projects in the long run. it is not possible to provide basic telecom services to citizens on commercial terms because of non-viability of business potential in far flung and sparsely populated areas. Control and Statistics department carried out a study in collaboration with Sultan Qaboos University (Communications and Information Research Centre) to investigate the gender's usage and access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs). In 2005. The Authority has directed all operators to ensure that their systems are capable of providing detailed billing information upon request from a consumer. There is a plan to test the framework through implementing a pilot project.objective cannot be ensured and all administrations through out the world undertake a number of policy and regulatory initiatives towards this end. This policy will create a mechanism for providing universal services. participation by the operators and service providers. The TRA try to achieve these objectives by providing relevant information to the consumers and handling complaints against operators. This policy would be aimed at creating suitable mechanism in the Sultanate. If required. As a part of the TRA’s responsibilities. the help of international consultants would be sought. USO Universal Service ensures that basic fixed line services are available at affordable price to all citizens across the Sultanate. these studies included among others mobile. Most of the consumer complaints pertained to billing accuracy and un-solicited SMS messages.

The MNC. The main point of concern before the approval of such applications. These short codes are used by telecommunication network operators to provide particular services exclusively to their subscribers and also used for public services such as emergency services etc. in combination with the Mobile Country Code. 4/2005 stating that TRA shall charge operators for the allocation and reservation of Numbers and Short Codes. During 2005. Nawras was allocated a new number level (95 xxx xxx) to be used for providing services to their subscribers. TRA received quite a few numbering applications from telecomm operators during the year 2005. On 17th May 2005. A new Mobile Network Code1 (03) was also allocated to Nawras. Technical Activities Numbering & Domain Names Article 8(3) of the Telecommunication Act 2002 has granted the responsibility of managing the national numbering resources and domain names to TRA.6. uniquely identifies the home network of the mobile terminal or mobile user. Following the entry of Nawras in the Oman mobile cellular market. were ensuring that the numbers will be used in accordance to the National Numbering Plan and will be used effectively and efficiently to preserve the numbering resources. In 2004. 1 Mobile Network Code (MNC): The MNC is the second field of the International Mobile Station Identity (IMSI) and is two to three digits in length. The charges were established to only cater for the cost of management of the national numbering plan. 20 . TRA published a Ministerial Decree No. TRA has also changed the old 3 digits short codes to 4 digits short codes. TRA implemented a new 8 digits numbering scheme for both Fixed and Mobile services to cater for numbering requirements for next 20 years.

TRA Developed a Code of Practice for Liability and Limitations on ISPs. During the year under report. The effect of major Authority actions on the deployment of new technology and advanced telecommunications capabilities are also analyzed by TRA. It also continued the process of preparing the WLAN regulations and investigates the technical solutions for National Roaming issues between operators. MNP is the ability for a GSM mobile subscriber to change the subscription network within a portability domain whilst retaining his original mobile number. In 2005. TRA obtained a test drive tool that facilitates mobile networks performance checks. TRA has been negotiating with Omantel (the incumbent Internet provider) to relinquish the registration of Domain Names to TRA as this is TRA’s responsibility according to Article 8(3) of the Telecomm Act. Periodically. Standardization The Authority identifies and analyzes the impact of new network technologies that will necessitate significant changes in the Authority's regulations. 21 . TRA also drafted a dispute settlement policy for any disputes between two parties in the registration of a domain name. In the Domain Names area and during the year 2005. There were several test drives conducted during the year and a report in this regard was issued to assess performance.TRA had also instructed the mobile operators to implement Mobile Number Portability (MNP) and these directives are expected to be an impetus to further competition in the Mobile Market. Quality of Service TRA considers Quality of Service as one important aspect to be carefully monitored by the Authority. TRA follows up with the operators on their license obligations regarding Quality of Service and carries out drive tests to verify Mobile Networks performance.

TRA registered 466 dealers for telecom equipment and systems including GSM during the year 2005. Moreover.695 terminal equipment and systems. 52 for other terminal equipment and 117 for radio equipment (Figure 6).6 Granted Approvals in 2005 new radio equipment on users of the frequency spectrum.Type Approval The type approval department of the Authority is in charge of identifying new or novel products submitted for equipment authorization and performs radio interference analysis to determine the impact of Type of Telecommunications Equipments Figure. the use the of TRA these approves and authorizes equipment subject to test Total GSM Terminal Radio 52 82 311 177 0 100 200 300 400 Number of Granted Approvals results and regulations of the Authority. 62. As dealers and users apply for certain equipment.351 GSM. 82 approvals for GSM hand sets. and 1.7 Imported Telecommunications Equipments Total Type of Telecommunications Equipments 100210 GSM Terminal Radio 0 1164 36695 62351 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000 Number of Imported Equipment 22 .164 radio equipment and systems were imported through official channels during the period under review (Figure 7 refers). Figure. 36.

Radio Spectrum Management TRA is responsible for radio spectrum management. microwave. the plan is with the Frequency Spectrum Allocation Committee for final approval. Radio Licensing Radio frequency spectrum is available for radio based services such as cellular mobile communication. it is the responsibility of TRA to provide appropriate solutions.7. ship & costal. private land mobile/fixed radio. GMPCS. shipping. trunking. The major function of the department of Frequency Allocations is to assign appropriate frequencies to radio-communications equipments. it is necessary to have a migration plan. public safety and mobile telephony. The Radio Licensing department 23 . The national frequency allocation and assignment plan will be implemented after the required approval from the Frequency Spectrum Allocation Committee that has been formulated by decision of Council of Ministers and chaired by H. Minister of Transport and Communications. The migration plan was also prepared during 2005 after getting the list of used frequencies with technical specifications from all users. point to point and point to multipoint radio data networks. The use of radio equipment in the Sultanate of Oman requires radio license from TRA under Telecom Act 30/2002. In order to implement the plan. It is the responsibility of TRA to ensure national coordination of frequencies and in cases of radio interference. where frequencies can be re-allocated according to the up-coming plan. WLL. VSAT. particularly for aviation.E. It supports a large number of communications services. aircraft. The plan is prepared according to International Radio Regulations and in line with the international practices. Currently. HF/VHF/UHF. The Radio Frequency Allocation Assignment and Planning department has prepared National Frequency Allocation and Assignment Plan to ensure the efficient management and use of radio spectrum. defense services.

Monitoring and Inspection In granting radio frequencies. The project is in its first phase and TRA is training its staff to familiarize them with the new system. the most of radio licenses were issued for fixed and mobile services. The Frequency department has initiated a project to monitor frequency systems. the TRA verifies applicants planned location of radio equipment before installation and controls the authorized equipment for proper application in conformity with the licensing conditions. Prior and following final granting of radio licenses. Finally. While 12 new licenses were issued for two way communications for ships during 2005 as compared to 18 licenses in 2004. As of December 31. the total number of radio licenses issued was 8570 of these 6625 were renewed. the TRA carries out pre-license and post-license conformity inspections The aim is to control the frequency usage consequently to detect any illegal usage (Unlicensed) of the spectrum.process all such applications/ requests and ensures that licenses are maintained in a manner which maximizes the efficient use of available spectrum. During 2005 TRA issued 4 new licenses in this category. The use of radio for ships helps passenger vessels. where 1929 new licenses were issued in 2005 as compared to 1260 licenses in 2004. 2005. and fishing vessels to communicate. 24 . The Aircraft Radio licenses are issued for use of radio transceivers equipment located on board aircraft and operating within the aeronautical frequency bands to airport control towers. Phase I of the project is completed during the year 2005. ships.

and identifies possible illegal actions of the operators / service provider's enablers for possible development of enforcement actions. The inputs of TRA on the legislation draft were substantial especially in the gap analysis document of Electronic Transaction and Commerce Act. solves conflicts. A committee was formed by the Ministry of National Economy to look into Electronic Commerce legislation and TRA played an active role in it. In later stages. Legal Activities TRA is the main jurisdiction in charge for follow up of legal and regulatory issues of the telecommunications sector. TRA initiated a proposal to play an active role in Telecom Policy and Legislation Committee of Arab/GCC countries. Drafts on dispute regulations to be instigated by operators as well as on licensing framework for Arab network were prepared by TRA during 2005. when necessary. TRA arbitrates disputes between operators. TRA actively participated in the FTA negotiations and contributed its input issues related to it especially on the chapter dealing with telecommunications. 25 .8. and Electronic Commerce and Cross Boarder Trade Services.

reflecting all the different interests at stake and find solutions and reach agreements in the field of internet governance and financing mechanism. Delegates from Sultanate of Oman attended these meetings and TRA actively participated as a part of the delegation and gave political support to the Tunis Commitments and Tunis Agenda for the information society that was adopted on 18th November 2005. The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) on the other hand was held under the high patronage of the United Nations Secretary-General. TRA's temporary committee Member is the Vice-Chairman of ITU-D Study Group 1 for 26 . International Events Global Symposium of Regulators and World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) The most prominent events of the year were the Global Symposium of Regulators and the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) both held in Tunis.000 participants from 174 countries attended the Summit. regulators and other interested bodies to make authoritative recommendations related to the technical work of the ITU through extensive studies. More than 19. Eng. scope and importance. During the Symposium. International Telecommunication Union (ITU. The Global Symposium of Regulators is a meeting held annually by regulators that is evolved in size. with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) taking the lead role in its preparation. The objective of the summit was to develop and foster a clear statement of political will and take concrete step to establish foundations for an information society for all.9. experts discusses array of issues related to telecommunications and allow countries to present their opinion and point of views on various issues related to telecommunications. The study groups were developed in order to allow telecom experts.D)'s Development Sector Study Groups 1 & 2 For the third year in a row. Naashiah Al-Kharusi. TRA contributed in the workings of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU. Mr Kofi Annan.D)'s Development Sector Study Groups 1 & 2.

Egypt). Meetings and workshops During 2005. They covered almost every aspect of telecommunication. The Pan Arab Conference on WSIS-Phase II. ITU/BDT Regional Workshop on "Interconnection and Price Regulation at Muscat In addition.Telecommunication Development Strategies and Policies. universal service opportunities. The workshop was seen as an important event as to gain experience from other national and international expertise in the field of interconnection and Pricing methods. Egypt). and Regional Information Meeting and Workshop related to the Administration of the Arab Group of Countries (Damascus. General Assembly Meeting of Arab Centre of Excellence CoE/ARB (Cairo. the most significant issues were frequency spectrum. Syria). Some of the regional workshops/meetings were ITU/IBDT Arab Regional Workshop on Universal Access and Universal Services Policies (Amman. An Arab Regional Dialogue (Cairo. workshops and conferences at regional and international level notably those which were conducted by the ITU and the GCC. The study group will accomplish the tasks by the end of the year 2006. Moreover employees also visited to TRA Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. standardization. 27 . interconnection and price regulations. core statistical indicators for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and cyber and network security. Jordan). TRA participated in various meetings. UAE for exchanging experiences. access to broadband. Visit to Regulatory Bodies In order to enhance the skill and expertise of TRA’s employees. seniors and juniors staff of TRA visited the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Jordan to gain knowledge from their experiences which are at advance stages of liberalization process. TRA also hosted a workshop on "Interconnection and Price Regulation".

cross border services. commerce and other fields of importance in the Region. it must be pointed out that the starting point of these negotiations was the Sultanate of Oman commitments to WTO. Naashiah Al-Kharusi. TRA fully participated in the process and contributed to various areas such as market access to goods. Eng.Developing and strengthening the capability to generate advanced level policy. managerial and requirement of technical expertise to address the needs of the telecommunication sector in Arab States Region 2. The agreement was finalized and awaited for formal legislative approval. intellectual property rights etc. Negotiation lasted about one year. Therefore. However. the most important for TRA was Chapter 13 which deals with telecommunications. regulatory. TRA did it best to protect safeguards and interest of the state and telecommunication business. Thus protection could not be given to those concerned which were already conceded under WTO agreement. 28 . The Arab Center of Excellence is playing unique role in the development of attractive telecommunication markets and the rendering of telecommunication services for the development of society in Arab Region by: 1. This field is most flourishing for economic activities and both sides negotiated on each and every aspect. However.Introducing and enhancement of application of communication and information technology in education. Arab Centre of Excellence (CoE) The Centers of Excellence concept was established in order to develop and strengthen the capability to generate the expertise in developing countries around the world.Free Trade Agreement (FTA) The Government of Sultanate of Oman decided to enter into Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States of America. it took considerable time and several rounds of discussions were held before agreement was finalized. Member of Temporary Committee of TRA led the telecommunications and ICT Group.

CoE office is located at Telecommunication Regulatory Authority’s premises. 29 . The Steering Committee decided to transfer the office of the CoE from Damascus to Oman. TRA is hosting the office of the CoE for coming 3 years and providing all the logistic and man power support to facilitate the activities of the Center besides a contribution of RO 23130 per annum.The Center is an ITU project run by a Steering Committee representing the stakeholders in the Region.

TRA intend to introduce competition in fixed line as well as in value added services sectors in near future. it is challenge for regulator. It is the prime concern of the Government and the TRA to ensure access of basic telecommunication services to all the citizens at affordable prices. During the period under review competition was promoted in mobile sector and its fruits are reaching to the end users. by developing legal framework and procedures. A competitive market cannot be created without the need for regulatory intervention to ensure that resources are allocated appropriately and fairly. The Authority intends to address this issue on top priority through a program in coming year by identifying and formulating the basic requirements for telecom services in the Sultanate. ensuring transparency in its decision making and following customer care strategies. Forward-Looking Activities for 2006 Liberalization of telecommunications is an on going process and it has embarked TRA to come up with an ambitious drive to fulfill its objectives stipulated in Telecom Act 2002. Competition is best guarantee of other key objectives such as the improvement of services and facilitation of a wider choice. whereby the Government can ensure Universal Access in rural and remote areas for such services. Due to unattractive market in rural areas for the operators from return on investment point of view. 30 . USO Currently teledensity in rural areas is very low due to difficult terrain of the country. TRA has prepared a strategic plan and is in the process of implementing through its staff.10. In order to accomplish its goals. TRA has planned following priorities to achieve its objectives Competition One of the major responsibilities of TRA is to foster competition in all areas of telecommunications.

high prices and lack of awareness of general public.Radio Spectrum TRA is well aware of future needs of the radio spectrum. TRA recognizes the importance of broadband proliferation in the country since it is directly associated with the social and economic uplift of the country. 31 . As for Radio Local Area Network (R LANs) operating in 2. The main reasons for low penetration include lack of competition. the regulations in this regard have been prepared and awaited for approval. where continuing high international settlement costs make VoIP an attractive alternative.4 and 5. TRA intends to complete all technical data and to implement Phase II and III of monitoring network system. TRA is devising strategy to introduce competition in the broadband resulting reduction in prices and making measures to ease broadband delivery mechanism and users equipment facilitations. Broadband Broadband penetration in the Sultanate is very low as compared to regional countries.8 MHZ. and also intends to vacate the 450-470 bands to make it available for mobile services for rural areas and other frequency bands which are important for safety and for the use of aeronautical and maritime services. The impact of VoIP technology is greatest on routes into developing markets. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) VoIP is growing at twice the rate of traditional switched voice and now accounts globally for 11 percent of international calls. VoIP will be an area of high priority for TRA and developing and articulating a longer term view of VoIP and increased liberalization in light of global developments. therefore the department of Frequency Planning and Allocation has planned to vacate the 1800 MHz and 2 GHz bands from the concerned government bodies and make it available to new operators or licensees.

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