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Communications

Oman - Communications


Omantel (Oman Telecommunication Company) has the monopoly on both landline and internet services in the in the country. Another arm of the same company, Omanmobile deals with the mobile telephone part of the business. Omantel is 70% owned by the government with the other 30% being made public in 2005. Qatar Telecommunications Company (QTEL) also offers mobile phone services in Oman under the brand name Nawras after being granted a second licence. Nawras launched its 3G network with 1 megabit download speeds in 2007 and both Nawras and Omanmobile offer mobile internet access through EDGE.

Privately owned companies are now starting to emerge into the Omani Media market with satellite dishes being permitted to be used by private residences. Government censorship of programming for both political and cultural reasons is commonplace and television programmes are mostly broadcast in Arabic, although there are some English language services.

Internet cafes can be found throughout the country, mainly in the capital and larger cities, and ADSL broadband services were launched by Omantel in 2005, offering various packages for the home user. Internet usage has increased a great deal over the last few years with the continued development of the country.

The telephone country code is (00)968 and payphones are commonplace around the country. The payphones usually work on a phone card system and phone booths are usually found in clusters of 2 or more, but there is an increasing amount of mobile phone usage as call charges become cheaper. Mobile roaming for international users is available for many networks although coverage is unreliable even in larger cities. For expats it is a good idea to obtain an Omani mobile phone and sim card to ensure that you are not paying more than you need to.

Radio Oman is run by the state and is broadcast in both Arabic and English. Hala Fm is a privately owned music radio station broadcast in Arabic.

The postal service is very reliable; items sent via airmail usually take up to 10 days to arrive in Western Europe. Overland items generally take much longer. There is no postal delivery service to home addresses so post office boxes can be applied for directly to the local post office. Some people choose to have mail sent to their work locations, but this must be approved by the employer.

There are over 20 publications available in Oman both daily and weekly papers. There are also some English language papers available for the ever growing expat community. Several of these papers are available online.


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