Telecommunications in Yemen

There are a number of systems of communications in Yemen.

TeleYemen is the exclusive provider of international telecommunications for Yemen—fixed-line and wireless mobile companies, telex, and Internet services—and is one of the mobile-phone operators.[1] In 2003 the government-owned Public Telecommunications Corporation assumed full control of TeleYemen, and a year later it awarded a five-year management contract to France Telecom.[1]

The infrastructure of the domestic system consists of microwave radio relay, cables and tropospheric scatter. The international network consists of three Intelsat (two Indian Ocean, and one Atlantic Ocean), one Intersputnik and two Arabsat satellite earth stations, and a microwave radio relay to Saudi Arabia and Djibouti. Since unification in 1990, efforts have been made to create a national telecommunications network.

Yemen had only 270,000 Internet users in 2006.[1] This low number is attributed to the high cost of computer equipment and connections in combination with the population's low level of income, as well as to the restricted bandwidth available on Yemen’s outdated telephone network.[1] In 2005 TeleYemen announced it would invest in the FALCON high-capacity loop cable system, which will improve Internet access, including broadband capability, and also expand international call accessibility.[1] There are five internet service provider in Yemen.[citation needed] The top-level domain and country code for Yemen is "YE". By the end of 2008 the Internet users increased to 295,232.[2]

The cost of running a landline or owning a mobile telephone is out of reach for most of Yemen’s poor population, resulting in very low telephone usage rates—3.9 fixed-line subscribers and 9.5 mobile subscribers per 100 persons in 2005.[1] The U.S. government reported 968,400 landlines and 2 million mobile subscribers in Yemen in 2006.[1] The ministry of Telecom & IT of Yemen declared some new statistics of 6.271 million mobile subscribers by 2008.[2] The technology used for domestic lines includes microwave radio relay, cable, and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM).[1] In 2001 two private companies won 15-year licenses to provide mobile phone services.[1] The growth of the companies' networks has resulted in coverage of about 60 percent of the population, but threats to internal security coupled with poor consumer payment history remain obstacles to future growth.[1] In August 2005, the government awarded a contract to a joint venture between China Mobile and a group of Yemeni investors to take a 55 percent stake in Yemen’s third mobile network; the government will retain a 25 percent share.[1] In August 2006, the same conglomerate was awarded a contract for a fourth mobile network.[1] The four mobile network providers currently present in the mobile phone market are MTN Yemen (Spacetel Yemen until 2006), Sabafon, Yemen Mobile, and Y (Hits Unitel).

Rank Operator Technology Subscribers
(in millions)
1 Spacetel Yemen GSM 1.972 [2] [3] (March 2009) MTN (83%)
2 Sabafon GSM 2 [4] (December 2008) Yemen Mobile Phone Company, Batelco (26.942%)
3 Yemen Mobile CDMA2000/1x 2.180 [2] (2008-2009) Yemen Mobile
3 HiTS-UNITEL (Y) GSM 0.281 [2] (2008-2009) HiTS-UNITEL

The state-run Republic of Yemen Television and Republic of Yemen Radio operate the country's television and radio networks, respectively.[1] As of 1998 Yemen had six AM, one FM, and two shortwave radio broadcast stations and, as of 2007, three television broadcast stations, plus several low-power repeaters.[1] As of 1997, there were 1.05 million radios and 470,000 televisions in Yemen.

See also


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