2007 Middle Eastern - Convergence, Broadband and Internet Market

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Last updated: 18 Jul 2007 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 120

Analyst: Stephen McNamara

Publication Overview

Counties covered: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen

This annual report offers a wealth of information on the Broadband, Internet, and Convergence markets in the Middle East. Subjects covered include:

  • Internet and broadband statistics;
  • Government policies and regulatory issues;
  • Broadband technologies;
  • Convergence and triple play models;
  • Satellite and pay TV market trends;
  • Digital media developments.

Executive Summary

This Middle East market report covers the broadband and Internet markets, as well as convergence, pay TV, and digital media, for the following countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE and Yemen. The region’s markets include:


Israel has one of the highest household broadband penetration rates in the world. Market competition is fierce, both between cable and DSL infrastructures and between ISPs. Competition is also fierce between Bezeq’s satellite TV subsidiary YES and HOT, the merged entity of the three cable TV operators. Israel’s very high broadband penetration rate provides great potential for triple play and digital media market developments. Both Bezeq, together with YES, and HOT have the potential to easily deliver triple play services, as each possesses both content and delivery mechanisms. Only HOT is permitted to do so at present. For the country overview, see chapter 6, page 38.


Lebanon, a country with a large potential market, only gained access to DSL in May 2007, the last country in the Middle East to do so, after a very long wait. Internet subscriber numbers are vague, partly due to a large black market, but they are comparatively high and there is considerable pent-up demand for faster services. Black market cable modem connections via illegal satellite providers were said to constitute around 30% of the market in early 2007. Around 80% of Lebanese households subscribe to illegal pirate cable TV networks. For the country overview, see chapter 9, page 56.


Broadband subscribers in Qatar increased nearly 100% during 2006. Qatar is unusual among the GCC countries in not prohibiting VoIP services and incumbent Qtel has no plans to block services. Small outlets offering VoIP services operate all over Doha. Qatar is home to the Arab news channel Al Jazeera, which claims high viewer ratings in the Middle East with an estimated 30-50 million viewers by 2007. For the country overview, see chapter 11, page 66.


Broadband usage in Turkey surged during 2005 and 2006, with most of the growth attributed to ADSL. Further strong broadband growth is predicted for 2007 and beyond as Türk Telekom, the fixed-line incumbent, focuses on broadband to generate new revenue streams to offset expected losses in the liberalised fixed-line voice market. For the country overview, see chapter 14, page 79.


UAE governments at both federal and emirate level have been very interventionist, particularly Dubai, with programs to encourage computer and Internet use. This has led to comparatively high Internet and broadband penetration levels. Government policy has also included encouragement for media, IT and Internet related businesses and Dubai has become a regional centre for the industry. Dubai is also a hub for the burgeoning satellite delivered Middle East TV industry. For the country overview, see chapter 15, page 88.

For those needing high level strategic information and objective analysis on the Internet and broadband markets in the Middle East, this report is essential reading and gives further information on:

  • The rapidly developing broadband markets in wealthier countries in the region;
  • The dynamic Arab satellite TV market;
  • VoIP developments and problems;
  • Digital media developments and challenges.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

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