TELECOM | Are we witnessing a new blooming of Jordan’s telecommunication market? Ahmad Humeid surveys the scene
The hills are green and the birds are singing. It’s Jordan’s beautiful springtime! The warmth of the sun is not only helping the flowers bloom. It’s also breathing new life into Jordan’s telecommunication sector. Whether it’s the effect of the three month old liberalization of the market or simply the inspiring spring atmosphere, one thing is sure: consumers are enjoying new choices and upgraded services.
Take Jordan Telecom for example: a few days ago they finally launched their “Computer and Interent for Every Home” campaign. Many Jordanian families now have the option to buy a computer, complete with an internet connection with JD 20 monthly instalments which are added on the telephone bill. This should be excellent news for the local technology market, as this could significantly contribute to the increase in the number of Jordanian households using PC technology and the web. If this and other family PC programmes succeed then we can hope to, one day, see a real e-commerce and e-business market appear in Jordan. Needless to say, having access to the web can have a real impact on citizen’s access to information and services, a critical factor in Jordan’s development process.
Talking about web access, a really cool new service called GoJo was announced last week. Basically, this is a 0900 telephone number that you simply dialup to get internet access without the need of a user name or password or the purchase of some pre-paid card. The minute of access costs 2 Piasters (= 2 Euro Cents). This is an OK price per minute but we can only hope it drops in the future. Similar services in Europe now cost lest than one Piaster per minute. Still this is a useful service for business travelers, tourists as well as the occasional web surfer.
Now that we’re talking about visitors and tourists, here’s a telecommunication development that they should really like: Fastlink have just announced the introduction of one year prepaid card validity. Fastlink actually claims to be the first in the Middle East to do this. And it is a big deal for prepaid card customers who don’t want to keep loosing their numbers every time they travel or run out of money to recharge their account (think of students for example).
Fastlink has also recently revived its ISP company Link, emphasizing that the company wants to play a role in increasing internet usage in Jordan and encourage the adoption of wireless internet services.
All of this activity is reflecting itself in the form of rather huge advertising campaigns. Recently Xpress (Jordan’s push-to-talk and mobile provider) has joined the party of big advertising campaigns. Xpress is trying hard to differentiate itself and emphasize the savings it says its customers enjoy. It’s billboards have painted the town red, so to speak!
There’s probably more to come in 2005. Under the surface there are a lot of ideas, services and companies brewing. Keep your fingers crossed!
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