ICT/ Telecommunications Sector Profile
The Qatar government has made investment in ICT a key priority. In 2004 it established the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) and gave it responsibility to be the country’s regulator and to champion efforts to encourage ICT adoption across all sectors of the economy.
In terms of regulation, ictQatar sets prices for the telecoms market which now has greater competition with the entry into the market of Vodafone Qatar to join the existing operator, Qatar Telecom.
Adoption of IT has been rapid in the last 6-7 years with over 84% of households in Qatar having access to the internet by 2010 according to the Qatar ICT Landscape 2011 report. Qatar was ranked as the 25th most networked nation in the world in the Global Information Technology Report for 2010-11, up from a position of 30th position in the previous year and 36th in 2006-07.
Qatar’s IT network is set to improve further with the plans for the Qatar National Broadband Network to connect all individuals and businesses to a fibre broadband network by 2015. Another notable recent infrastructure development has been the landing of the Gulf Bridge International (GBI) submarine cable which links up the Gulf with Europe and Asia.
In regard to support for SMEs, ictQATAR has done the following:
- sponsor Business Connect, a series of seminars which highlight relevant ICT information and provide a forum to share success stories.
- roll out a new domain naming system in Arabic, thus making it easier for non-English speakers to have a web presence.
- Formed a Digital Content Incubation Centre to foster new entrepreneurial ventures.