Oman Table of Contents
Modern telecommunications facilities were introduced in 1975, but major investment in such facilities occurred only after 1982. In 1989 the sultanate had almost 87,000 telephones, or about 6.8 telephones per 100 inhabitants, a figure considerably lower than for Oman's Persian Gulf neighbors. Service is unevenly distributed; more than 50 percent of the telephones are in the Muscat area. Service is entirely automatic, with international direct dial available to all customers.
International telecommunications to Europe, Asia, and the Americas go via a satellite ground station, working with the International Telecommunications Satellite Corporation's (Intelsat) Indian Ocean satellite. Calls to other countries in the region are routed through a ground station linked to the Arab Satellite Communication Organization (Arabsat) satellite. A third system of eight ground stations is used for domestic calls.
In 1992 broadcast facilities were limited. Television service was more widespread than radio. There are only two AM radio stations, one in Muscat and one in Salalah, and three FM radio stations, two in Muscat and the other in Al Khasab in northernmost Oman. A powerful shortwave station that broadcasts in Arabic and English can be received worldwide. Television service is available throughout the country; seven large transmitters are located in major towns, and twenty-five smaller relay stations broadcast in rural areas.
The government's priorities in the 1990s are to expand the local telephone facilities in existing telephone switching centers, to provide telephone service to rural communities without service, and to expand domestic long-distance and international telephone facilities. The Fourth Five-Year Development Plan allocated RO93 million (US$242 million) to telecommunications projects. Plans of the state-owned General Telecommunications Organization include launching public paging, data communications, and telephone expansion services.
Data as of January 1993