Monday, 17 August 2009

50 Million Mobile Broadband Users Predicted in the Middle East by 2013

Mobile phone ownership rates are high in the Middle East and rising fast, in the UAE for example the penetration rate is 198.6 percent meaning there are on average two handsets per person. The latest worldwide success story in the telecoms world is undoubtedly mobile broadband and predictably it is taking off fast in the Middle East.

It has recently been predicted by Informa Telecoms & Media that mobile broadband subscription levels in the region could reach 50 million by 2013. To put this is perspective this would be more people connecting via a mobile broadband dongle than currently connect by any method.

"In the MEA region, there is no doubt that mobile broadband adoption will grow faster than the global average. We have observed that in some of the regional markets, mobile broadband services are attracting the majority of net additions. Very soon, mobile broadband will become the preferred option to access the internet, and I would estimate that by 2015 the total number of subscribers will reach 50 million."

Zoran Vasiljev of Value Partners

The lack of infrastructure in the Middle East means that mobile broadband is seen as a good alternative to a fixed line connection. As the coverage levels and speeds increase data traffic is expected to raise by 1,587 percent. The flexibility and portability of the best mobile broadband packages make them a big hit with business customers in the east.

"Mobile broadband has been a true success story over the past two to three years, and mobile data and wireless subscriptions will overtake fixed line data subscriptions in both numbers of customers and in revenue. The ever-growing and unmet demand for access coupled with lack of fixed infrastructure investments (improvements) have contributed to this trend and I do not see this changing or reversing. Demand for mobile broadband will exceed that of fixed line services."

The report also suggests that mobile broadband subscriptions will overtake fixed line connections globally by the year 2011. 65% of connections are expected to be mobile by 2013.

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