New Study: Middle East - Mobile Broadband and Infrastructure - Statistics and Analyses

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Mon Sep 21 2015

Mobile broadband in the Middle East offers a diverse mix of opportunities and challenges

The Middle East mobile broadband market offers a diverse mix of opportunity and challenges due to the many variances between the different countries which make up this vibrant region. Many countries have reached mobile saturation and this combined with infrastructure improvements such as LTE 4G roll-outs creates opportunity for mobile broadband growth in these markets.

The United Arab Emirates has a well established mobile sector, with mobile penetration among the highest in the world, largely due to the country's affluence as well as to a significantly sized and fluid population of expatriate workers. Often, consumers own more than one SIM card to take advantage of promotional offers.

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Etisalat and du have both deployed sophisticated HSPA+ and LTE networks that cover more than 88% of the population, underpinning growth opportunities centred on mobile broadband, content and applications. Smart phones are becoming increasingly popular, accounting for close to two thirds of the country's mobile handsets.

Kuwait also has a very high mobile penetration and represents a bright spot amongst a region marred by civil tension. The mobile operators in Kuwait are forging ahead and developing both infrastructure and services, with the three major operators of Zain Kuwait, VIVA and Ooredoo all offering LTE services and also deploying or exploring LTE-A services. This has created an environment where mobile broadband has become a feasible proposition with all three mobile network operators offering mobile broadband services.

Mobile broadband subscriptions outnumber fixed broadband subscriptions by a long way in Saudi Arabia, which reflects the country's large household size. While fixed broadband normally serves the home, mobile broadband subscriptions are individual. Therefore, mobile broadband subscriptions are likely to continue growing beyond the 100% per capita penetration threshold due to some users having more than one mobile connected device.

Iraq's telecommunications sector began on a positive note in 2015 with the roll-out of 3G services by three operators - Zain Iraq, Asiacell and Korek Telecom. Prior to the current civil tension there was also a progressive fibre optic deployment occurring across parts of Iraq. In the longer term - the Iraq telecoms market offers many opportunities once the civil unrest stabilises and the government and operators are able to focus again on telecoms and digital growth. It has a large population of mobile phone users which have not yet adopted mobile broadband at any significant levels.

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