For many years, the Ministry of Communications (MoC) is the main government body responsible for the regulatory issues and services telecommunications as well as postal services.
In 2014, the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) was established as the Kuwait Telecoms Regulatory Authority, is in charge of managing fair competition, licensing, the release of spectrum, cybersecurity measures and smart government strategies, taking over the MoC's role as sector regulator.
The Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) is another important body in ICT sector in Kuwait. the CAIT coordinates national e-services strategy and initiatives, is responsible for the Kuwait Government Online Portal, the Kuwait Government Call Centre and the Kuwait National IT Governance Framework. The CAIT has commissioned detailed surveys of the ICT sector, and established the data- and disaster-recovery centres used by various government ministries.
The mobile market in Kuwait is dominated by three providers: Zain Kuwait, VIVA and Ooredoo Kuwait. Zain is the first mobile operator in Kuwait and was founded in 1983 as MTC (Mobile Telecommunications Company), but was officially privatized in 1999 and rebranded as Zain in 2007. Ooredoo Kuwait, previously known as Wataniya, was initially launched in 1999 and acquired by Ooredoo for US$3.8 billion in 2007. VIVA is the brand of Kuwait Telecommunications Company (KSC) established in 2008, is a subsidiary of Saudi Telecom Company (STC).
The MoC is now the sole provider of fixed-line telephony and fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services in Kuwait. The MoC’s fixed-line broadband services are supplied via five internet service providers (ISPs). Four of them are wire-based – Qualitynet, Fasttelco, Zajil Telecom and bOnline (formerly Gulfnet) – one wireless ISP, which is Mada.
Three ISPs were acquired by mobile operators: FAST telco, bOnline, QualityNet and Zajil-KEMS. Fasttelco was purchased by Ooredoo Kuwait in 2016, although they continue to exist as a separate legal entities. bOnline is a subsidiary of United Networks Company, part of investment outfit Kuwait Projects Company. QualityNet was 90% owned by Bahrain’s Batelco until May 2019, when the company sold its stake to VIVA for around KD28.3m ($93.2m).
Kuwait’s ISPs offer a wide variety of solutions, including the cloud, managed services and cybersecurity. QualityNet, Zajil and Ooredoo (Fasttelco) also offer co-location data centres in Kuwait City. Mada, a more specialised company, provides wireless corporate intranet and internet services, along with Integrated Services Digital Network lines.
The MoC operates the following cable landing station:
Zajil Telecom is the landing party in Kuwait and Bahrain for the Middle East-Europe terrestrial system (MEETS), operates its landing station in Kuwait City.