Vision 2040, Oman’s long-term development plan, calls for the enhancement of national technical capabilities, the construction of vital ICT infrastructure, and the improvement of e-government services. The government has prioritized the development of ICT and the sector is well positioned for growth in the years ahead. Several U.S. firms are at the forefront of ICT development in Oman.
The Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology (MTCIT) oversees national IT infrastructure projects and e-government initiatives. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority provides considerable oversight and policy guidance, most notably in the deployment of Oman’s 5G networks. The Oman Technology Fund has invested in local companies that developed online auction, marketplace, and teaching platforms, among others.
Omantel and Ooredoo are Oman’s two main telecommunications providers. A third operator, Vodafone, entered the market in 2022. Oman’s price-sensitive market has increased the appeal of low-cost options from untrusted vendors such as Huawei, but telecommunications providers have demonstrated interest in diversifying their 5G commercial partnerships.
Oman is building the ICT infrastructure to reduce the digital divide through its National Broadband Strategy, which envisions providing broadband service to more than 90 percent of urban areas by 2030, with overall penetration reaching 75 percent.
E-government services, smart city initiatives, cybersecurity solutions, drones and anti-drone systems, data management/centers, disaster recovery services, expansion of broadband infrastructure, e-commerce, blockchain/AI/IoT solutions, space technologies, and training and development.
Training and workforce development: Oman has expressed aspirations to develop a center of excellence with a specific focus on SME mentoring and support and is seeking to form partnerships with global technology organizations.
E-government services: The MTCIT manages the government network and cloud and is heading efforts to increase e-government services.
Data centers: In line with the Digital Oman Strategy, businesses are increasingly migrating toward cloud computing, creating commercial opportunities to establish data centers. Oman Data Park is an example of a joint venture between the government-owned telecommunications company Omantel and another private sector company.
Disaster recovery services: Oman anticipates investments of around RO 25 million (approximately USD 65 million) from the government and private sectors in establishing itself as a full-fledged hub for disaster recovery services. The Omani government identified disaster recovery services as a targeted sector for development.
Cybersecurity: Oman aspires to build a cybersecurity industry, focusing on managed security services, cybercrime analysis, security incident management, and consultancy. Oman’s first cyber-security center facility is a part of the Oman National Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a task force that safeguards government institutions from cyber risks.
Blockchain/AI/IoT: The SaS Center for Entrepreneurship Center under MTCIT is overseeing a smart cities project to launch initiatives in the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, and blockchain. Omantel is providing smart cities project implementation and ICT solutions including blockchain technology and smart cloud call center services to government customers. Sultan Qaboos University opened an IoT laboratory and a communication and information research center to implement projects such as smart streets and a remote healthcare system for monitoring and diagnosis.
Cryptocurrency: Oman’s central bank is developing its own digital currency and open banking services. In January 2022, Oman’s financial regulator, the Capital Markets Authority, invited bids from companies to help set up a regulatory framework for virtual assets. Oman has also expressed interest in building capabilities to set up cryptocurrency data mining centers.
Space technologies: The Omani government established Space Communications Technology as a wholly government-owned entity with the mandate to develop and implement Oman’s maiden satellite communications project. In January 2022, U.S. firm Virgin Orbit signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the government to collaborate on Oman’s first mission to deep space, in addition to an agreement to deliver small satellites to low Earth orbit, a first for Oman.