With a relatively closed market, tight regulations and political volatility, Syria is a tough market for telecom operators. Milan Sallaba, partner, Oliver Wyman, tells CommsMEA where the country's potential lies.
Despite having a large young population and a relatively low mobile penetration rate, Syria remains a tough market for private telecom operators looking to enter the market.
And the situation has become more difficult in the past few years, partly owing to tightening US sanctions, which have been in place since 2004.
For the telecoms sector, the sanctions mean that operators have been forced to acquire telco equipment from alternative providers, including France and China.
It also makes it more difficult for the telecoms sector, and the country as a whole, to open its doors and become a fully liberalised and fluid market.
"In brief, a lack of infrastructure, underdeveloped services, lack of competition, an overly government-controlled communication sector all contribute to hamper take up and growth, and do not reflect the underlying market potential," says Milan Sallaba, partner, Oliver Wyman.