Qatar was ranked first globally on the indicator measuring the percentage of individuals using Internet in the developing countries in 2014. The country was also the first among Arab countries and second globally on the indicator measuring the percentage of households with Internet. Qatar has been working hard to build on the progress achieved and continue promoting broadband penetration among all sectors and social segments, as well as building advanced world-class infrastructures with high speeds and reasonable rates.
The Internet penetration rate in Qatar was of 97% by June 2016. In recent years, the licensed mobile operators have launched 4G/LTE and LTE+ networks, seeing a massive increase in mobile data use, while fiber broadband connections surpassed copper with 10 Mbps download speeds as a minimum.
Qatar is considered to be one of the most highly connected markets in the Middle East and offers significant opportunity due to its high numbers of mobile and broadband subscribers combined with wealth due to its large natural gas reserves. Fixed-line penetration is relatively high, as is mobile. While such levels might suggest that there is little room for new competitors in the fixed-line or mobile markets, the very fluid and rapidly expanding population due to the large number of expatriate workers creates considerable opportunity. Broadband use is also growing rapidly, with Internet access reaching near-saturation. Qatar’s Supreme Council for Communications and Information Technology (ictQatar) is the main regulatory authority.
Qatar has prospered in the last several years with continued high real GDP growth, but low oil prices have dampened the outlook. Qatar was the only Gulf Cooperation Council member that avoided a budget deficit in 2015, but it projects a $12.8 billion deficit, 6% of GDP in 2016.
GDP is driven largely by the oil and gas sector; however, growth in manufacturing, construction, and financial services have lifted the non-oil sectors to just over half of Qatar’s nominal GDP. Economic policy is focused on sustaining Qatar’s non-associated natural gas reserves and increasing private and foreign investment in non-energy sectors, but oil and gas still account for roughly 92% of export earnings, and 56% of government revenues. Oil and gas have made Qatar the world’s highest per-capita income country and the country with the lowest unemployment. Proved oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for about 56 years. Qatar’s proved reserves of natural gas exceed 25 trillion cubic meters, about 13% of the world total and third largest in the world.
Q-Tel Group (formerly Qtel) is an international telecommunications company headquartered in Doha, Qatar. Ooredoo provides mobile, wireless, wireline, and content services with market share in domestic and international telecommunication markets, and in business (corporations and individuals) and residential markets. It is one of the world’s largest mobile telecommunications companies, with over 114 million customers worldwide as of September 2015. Partly state-owned, Ooredoo also has operations in the Middle East, Europe and Asia, including Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Kuwait, Myanmar, Maldives, Oman, Palestine, and Tunisia.