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French Version

Morocco and Lebanon SMS rates highest in Arab world

Only 56 percent of Arab cellular operators provide the Multimedia Messaging service (MMS), while Morocco and Lebanon have the highest Short Message Service (SMS) rates in the Arab world. New research from the Arab Advisers Group reveals a fragmented deployment of MMS services in the region.

SMS, which is widely deployed and used, is priced quite differently across the region. Palestine and Sudan have the lowest SMS rates, while Lebanon and Morocco have the highest. The research shows the average rate of national SMS for the Arab world is $0.088 for prepaid and $0.074 for postpaid subscriptions.

The average rate of international SMS is $0.179 for prepaid compared to $0.156 for postpaid subscriptions. "The international SMS rate is, on average, double the rate of national SMS for both prepaid and postpaid subscriptions," the report said. Sudan's cellular operator, Mobitel, has the lowest rate for national prepaid and postpaid SMS at $0.022. Libya's cellular operator, Al-Madar, has the lowest rate for international prepaid and postpaid SMS at $0.040.

Lebanon and Morocco lie at the other end with the highest SMS rates in the region. Lebanon's cellular operator, Alfa (previously Cellis), has the highest rates for national prepaid and postpaid SMS, which are $0.270 and $0.220 respectively. Both cellular operators in Morocco, Maroc Telecom and MŽdi Telecom, have the same rates for international SMS, the highest in the region, which are $0.571 for both prepaid and postpaid subscriptions. The research shows Morocco's SMS tariffs are the highest at 188 percent above the region's average.

Morocco is followed by Lebanon (89 percent above the regional average), Syria (67 percent), Saudi Arabia (15 percent), Algeria (14 percent) and Qatar (7 percent), U.A.E. (-11 percent below the regional average), Libya (-14 percent), Yemen (-18 percent), Tunisia and Iraq (-27 percent), Oman (-34 percent), Bahrain and Egypt (-38 percent), Jordan (-39 percent), Kuwait (-42 percent), Sudan (-45 percent) and Palestine (-47 percent).

Beirut,01 24 2005
Paul Cochrane
The Daily Star
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