Algerian mobile operator Djezzy added 1 million customers this year

Djezzy, Algeria’s No. 2 mobile operator, has seven million smart phones users. (Reuters)
Updated 06 December 2018
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Algerian mobile operator Djezzy added 1 million customers this year

  • Djezzy, or Optimum Telecom Algérie, will have 16 million subscribers by the end of 2018
  • The rate of penetration of smartphones in Algeria is around 40 percent, much lower than in other Arab countries

ALGIERS: Algerian mobile telecoms operator Djezzy has added 1 million customers this year and plans to further invest to offer more online payment services, its CEO said.
Djezzy, or Optimum Telecom Algérie, will have 16 million subscribers by the end of 2018, up from 15 million a year ago and including seven million smart phones users, said Matthieu Galvani.
Djezzy is Algeria’s No. 2 mobile operator, behind state-owned Mobilis, and also competes with Qatar’s Ooredoo.
It is owned by Egypt’s Global Telecom Holding (GTH) , in which Dutch-based Veon, formerly know as VimpelCom, has a 57.7 percent stake.
Galvani declined to give a forecast for next year, saying only the potential was huge as the government was planning to make more online payment services available.
Some government bodies and even banks in Algeria still use the fax to communicate with the world. Online payments are very limited and such services require special central bank approval.
However, authorities plan to expand the network as part of efforts to boost private investment and lower the country’s dependency on oil and gas revenues.
To tap into this nascent market Djezzy will invest more after spending 30 billion dinars ($253 million) in the past two years to become an online business platform, Galvani said, declining to give a figure.
“The potential of (Algeria’s population of around) 40 million people once it goes digital is huge, so we need to be ready, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be created,” he said.
Other shareholders in Djezzy are a state-owned fund called FNI with 51 percent and CEVITAL, a local private company, which owns 3.3 percent.
The rate of penetration of smartphones in Algeria is around 40 percent now, according to official figures, much lower than in other Arab countries.
The rate for mobile phones is 111 percent.
Algeria has the slowest fixed Internet speed connection in the world at 3.5 megabits per second (mbps), compared to world leader Singapore with 161.2 mbps, according to 2018 Digital yearbook.
Mobile connections are faster at 7.4 mpbs but even then only seven other countries offer slower services, according to Digital yearbook.


Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

Updated 15 February 2019
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Gulf defense spending ‘to top $110bn by 2023’

  • Saudi Arabia and UAE initiatives ‘driving forward industrial defense capabilities’
  • Budgets are increasing as countries pursue modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities

LONDON: Defense spending by Gulf Arab states is expected to rise to more than $110 billion by 2023, driven partly by localized military initiatives by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a report has found.

Budgets are increasing as countries pursue the modernization of equipment and expansion of their current capabilities, according to a report by analytics firm Jane’s by IHS Markit.

Military expenditure in the Gulf will increase from $82.33 billion in 2013 to an estimated $103.01 billion in 2019, and is forecast to continue trending upward to $110.86 billion in 2023.

“Falling energy revenues between 2014 and 2016 led to some major procurement projects being delayed as governments reigned in budget deficits,” said Charles Forrester, senior defense industry analyst at Jane’s.

“However, defense was generally protected from the worst of the spending cuts due to regional security concerns and budgets are now growing again.”

Major deals in the region have included Eurofighter Typhoon purchases by countries including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia is also looking to “localize” 50 percent of total government military spending in the Kingdom by 2030, and in 2017 announced the launch of the state-owned military industrial company Saudi Arabia Military Industries.

Forrester said such moves will boost the ability for Gulf countries to start exporting, rather than purely importing defense equipment.

“Within the defense sector, the establishment of Saudi Arabia Military Industries (SAMI) in 2017 and consolidation of the UAE’s defense industrial base through the creation of Emirates Defense Industries Company (EDIC) in 2014 have helped consolidate and drive forward industrial defense capabilities,” he said.

“This has happened as the countries focus on improving the quality of the defense technological work packages they undertake through offset, as well as increasing their ability to begin exporting defense equipment.”

Regional countries are also considering the use of “disruptive technologies” such as artificial intelligence in defense, Forrester said.

Meanwhile, it emerged on Friday that worldwide outlays on weapons and defense rose 1.8 percent to more than $1.67 trillion in 2018.

The US was responsible for almost half that increase, according to “The Military Balance” report released at the Munich Security Conference and quoted by Reuters.

Western powers were concerned about Russia’s upgrades of air bases and air defense systems in Crimea, the report said, but added that “China perhaps represents even more of a challenge, as it introduces yet more advanced military systems and is engaged in a strategy to improve its forces’ ability to operate at distance from the homeland.”