(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Mobile and fixed broadband remains the fastest growing segment in the telecom sector in Oman, with almost six per cent increase in subscribers for both categories recorded in Q1 2014.
The growth in mobile broadband penetration in the sultanate, reaching 65.31 per cent in the first quarter continues to outpace growth in other telecom spheres.
Although it is above the global average of 32 per cent, it is still far behind when compared to penetration rates of 84 per cent in developed countries (International Telecommunication Union Facts and Figures 2014).
However, in terms of Internet speed and connectivity, Oman has a lot of catching up to do as the average connection speed of Internet access by end-users hovers around two megabits per second (Mbps), well below the global average of 3.8Mbps.
And in terms of average peak connection speeds, Oman with 9-10Mbps falls way short of global average of 23.2Mbps.
According to TRA's Telecom Market Indicators Report Q1 2014, only 2.7 per cent of fixed broadband subscribers have access to speed of 10Mbps and above, while 88 per cent of fixed broadband subscribers have access to speeds of 2Mbps to 10Mbps.
While remaining were getting speeds less than 2Mbps.
South Korea's Internet speed continues to be the envy of the world, with average connection speeds of nearly 22Mbps, according to the latest State of the Internet report from online traffic routing company Akamai.
South Korea's average connection speed is over 40 per cent faster than the next ranked country, Japan, with 12.9Mbps. Average connection speed in UAE was 4.2Mbps, Kuwait 3Mbps and Saudi Arabia with 2.7Mpbs. Peak connection speeds in these countries were 41.7Mbps, 33.3Mbps and 22.4 Mbps respectively.
However, the TRA report indicates that all telecom sectors are showing a positive growth. At the end of Q1 2014 the total active mobile broadband subscribers increased by 5.8 per cent to 2,584,177 from 2,443,296 in Q4 2013.
The penetration rate stands at 65.31 per cent by the end of the quarter as against 67.44 per cent in Q4 2013, a decline of 2.13 per cent, because the penetration rate of Q1 2014 was calculated based on the new population (3,957,040) as on December 2013, while Q4 2013 penetration rate was based on the population numbering 3,623,001.
Total mobile subscribers rose to 5,727,127 from 5,617,426 during the quarter, an increase of two per cent. However, due to the increase in population, the penetration rate of mobile subscribers dropped by 10.32 per cent.
Post-paid mobile subscribers stood at 503,298 at the end of first quarter of 2014 showing an increase of two per cent, while prepaid mobile subscribers also rose by two per cent at 5,223,829 compared to Q4 2013.
In the prepaid sector, resellers or mobile virtual network operators showed better growth at six per cent with 601,552 subscribers from 568,444 in the 2013 last quarter. While operators (Class I licensees) grew only by 1.5 per cent to 4,622,277 from 4,553,279.
In the fixed line sector, Q1 2014 ended with 356,007 fixed lines from earlier 351,411, an increase of 1.3 per cent compared to the previous quarter.
The penetration rate in terms of inhabitants shrank from 9.7 per cent to nine per cent, whereas in terms of household it increased from 87.35 per cent to 88.50 per cent.
Fixed Broadband subscription increased by six per cent from 154,290 to 163,610. Penetration rate in terms of households also increased to 40.67 per cent from 38.35 per cent during Q1 2014.
While total fixed Internet subscribers (167,724 from earlier 158,678) increased by 5.7 per cent against the previous quarter.
Fixed Internet subscribers' penetration rate in terms of households increased to 41.69 per cent by end of the first quarter from 39.44 in Q4 2013.