2010 Middle Eastern Digital Media, Broadband and Internet Markets

Publication Overview

This Middle East market report covers the digital media, broadband and Internet markets in each of the following countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE and Yemen.

Researcher:- Tine Lewis
Current publication date:- August 2010 (9th Edition)
Next publication date:- September 2011

Executive Summary

The broadband market in the Middle East is starting to move

Internet and broadband penetration rates remain low in many countries of the Middle East, access speeds are often relatively slow and tariffs are relatively high compared with other regions in the world but the region is making a strong push towards higher broadband penetration. The young population will be a driver for growth as they grow up with Internet use as the norm. In addition liberalisation and increased competition are producing a greater variety of services and mediums.

While broadband growth has taken off in the small, oil-rich and developed countries of the Gulf, wide income disparities across the Arab Middle East region as a whole are echoed by wide disparities in Internet and broadband penetration rates. Computer penetration levels are generally low. Qatar, Bahrain and UAE all have high household broadband penetration, particularly amongst nationals. The largest country in the region, Saudi Arabia, has low broadband penetration but it is rising quickly.

ADSL is the prevailing broadband Internet technology in the region. Only in Israel does cable have a significant market share. Services are provided by HOT Cable Systems Media, which is subject to the same broadband universal service obligations as is DSL network operator Bezeq. This has resulted in broadband being available to 99% of all households.

Much is being promised by WiMAX across the Middle East region. In Bahrain services from Zain Bahrain and Mena Telecom, both with country-wide networks, have rapidly gained over 30% market share. It is also having a significant impact in Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

All the GCC, Israeli and Turkish operators offer HSPA mobile broadband services. Saudi Arabia’s second mobile operator, Mobily, has claimed a 70% share of the country’s broadband market.

Fibre to the Home (FttH) is likely to revolutionise the broadband market in the most advanced countries. Both Israel and the UAE will have nationwide fibre networks in the next two years.

One of the reasons for slow Internet and broadband subscriber growth in Arab Middle East countries has been a lack of sufficient content in Arabic for users to need a high-speed broadband connection in their daily lives. There has been too much emphasis on hardware and the latest must-have gizmo and not enough on creativity. This is beginning to change with the increasing digital content produced by the flourishing Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite TV sector, including entertainment, educational programming, news and sports. At least 60-70% of homes across the Middle East have access to multi-channel TV, much of it free to air DTH satellite. Around 70% of the 400+ channels are privately owned.

A further impetus was gained from the sale of Jordan’s Maktoob to Yahoo. This immediately prompted venture capital funds to take a greater interest in the sector. Advertising provides only a very small revenue for digital media companies. The UAE’s advertisers allot a 3.5% share of their budgets to online advertising compared to a regional average of 1%.

Market Highlights

Israel

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 cable TV operator HOT. Israel’s very high broadband penetration rate provides great potential for triple play and digital media market developments and competitors are manoeuvring for position.

Bezeq commercially launched an NGN in September 2009. It had 374,000 subscribers connected to the network at end-2009 and 580,000 by early May 2010 (around 25% of Israeli households). Bezeq plans to make the NGN available to approximately 50% of Israeli households by end-2010 and 90% of households by end-2012. The network is ‘fibre to the curb’ and allows for an up to 50MB bandwidth offering.

Jordan

Licensed WiMAX operators are beginning to make inroads into the Jordanian broadband market, with over 17% market share of the small broadband market by late 2009.

Jordan is an important base for regional digital media and Internet companies and seems to be particularly successful in breeding viable start-up companies. Whilst Dubai is home to the regional HQs of more established companies, Jordan’s cheaper operational costs, relatively open economy and pool of talent favour younger companies. The best known of these is the Maktoob Group. In August 2009, the Maktob.com portal, with its news, financial information and social networking services, was bought by Yahoo!, at a purchase price variously reported as being between US$75 and US$85 million. Services have been co-branded as ‘Yahoo! Maktoob’.

Saudi Arabia

The broadband market has been slow to grow in Saudi Arabia. Penetration rates for both fixed lines and ADSL are very low for the level of development, only partly due to large household sizes. This has provided fertile ground for the development of mobile and wireless broadband services, with alternative operator Mobily claiming to have the busiest HSPA network in the world.

Whilst few Middle East media companies are based in Saudi Arabia, most of the larger ones are Saudi owned, including the most watched FTA channel MBC, two out of the three regional satellite pay TV operators, and TV and digital media company Rotana.

UAE

Incumbent UAE telco Etisalat and alternative operator du are vying to offer faster broadband packages over a mixture of ADSL, mobile broadband and FttH in a market that already has one of the highest broadband penetration rates in the Middle East.

Etisalat’s FttH project, known as ‘eLite’, is being completed in phases. The first batch of Abu Dhabi subscribers received last mile FttH access in January 2008. By end-2009 Etisalat claimed to have completed 60% of the network. It expected to make Abu Dhabi “the first capital city in the world with 100% fibre deployment” by 2010 and at end-2009 had completed the roll-out for 85% of Abu Dhabi households. Completion of the entire national network is expected by 2011 at a total cost of AED5 billion.

Etisalat is building the network as a commercial decision, to enable its customers “to enjoy multiple high bandwidth applications such as IPTV and online gaming in an integrated single interface for landline, Internet and television-based services, providing a truly converged digital home experience”.

UAE governments, at both federal and emirate level, have been very interventionist, with programs to encourage computer and Internet use. Government policy has also included encouragement for media, IT and Internet related businesses and Dubai has become a regional centre for the industry. Around 25% of the region’s large DTH satellite TV industry is headquartered in the UAE.

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

Table of Contents

  • 1. Bahrain
    • 1.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Bahrain
      • 1.1.1 Broadband statistics
    • 1.2 ADSL
    • 1.3 Wireless broadband
      • 1.3.1 WiMAX
      • 1.3.2 Internet via satellite
      • 1.3.3 WiFi
    • 1.4 VoIP
    • 1.5 Digital economy / digital media
      • 1.5.1 Services
    • 1.6 Digital broadcasting
      • 1.6.1 Satellite TV
  • 2. Iran
    • 2.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Iran
      • 2.1.1 Censorship
      • 2.1.2 Broadband and Internet statistics
      • 2.1.3 ISP market
    • 2.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
    • 2.3 ADSL
    • 2.4 Wireless (fixed) broadband
      • 2.4.1 WiMAX
      • 2.4.2 Internet via satellite (Ka band services)
    • 2.5 Digital economy/digital media
      • 2.5.1 Overview
      • 2.5.2 Services
    • 2.6 Digital broadcasting
      • 2.6.1 Overview of broadcasting market
      • 2.6.2 Satellite TV
  • 3. Iraq
    • 3.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Iraq
      • 3.1.1 Internet statistics
    • 3.2 Broadband and Internet subscriber forecasts
    • 3.3 Wireless broadband
      • 3.3.1 Internet via satellite
    • 3.4 Digital economy/digital media
      • 3.4.1 Overview
  • 4. Israel
    • 4.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Israel
      • 4.1.1 Broadband and Internet statistics
    • 4.2 ADSL and cable networks
    • 4.3 Israel’s ISP market
    • 4.4 Wireless (fixed) broadband
      • 4.4.1 WiFi
      • 4.4.2 WiMAX
    • 4.5 Digital Media / Digital Economy
      • 4.5.1 Overview
      • 4.5.2 Digital broadcasting
  • 5. Jordan
    • 5.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Jordan
      • 5.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
      • 5.1.2 VoIP and Triple Play
    • 5.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
      • 5.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher growth
      • 5.2.2 Scenario 2 – lower growth
    • 5.3 ISP market
      • 5.3.1 Orange Internet
      • 5.3.2 Umniah/Batelco Jordan
      • 5.3.3 Cyberia
      • 5.3.4 TE Data
    • 5.4 ADSL
    • 5.5 Wireless (fixed) broadband
      • 5.5.1 WiFi
      • 5.5.2 WiMAX
    • 5.6 Digital economy/digital media
      • 5.6.1 Overview
      • 5.6.2 Maktoob Group
      • 5.6.3 Jabbar Internet Group
      • 5.6.4 Jeeran
      • 5.6.5 Watwet/TootCorp
    • 5.7 Digital broadcasting
      • 5.7.1 Broadcasting market overview
      • 5.7.2 Jordan Media City (JMC)
      • 5.7.3 Jordan Television (JTV)
      • 5.7.4 Rubicon Group
    • 5.8 IPTV
  • 6. Kuwait
    • 6.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Kuwait
      • 6.1.1 Broadband and Internet statistics
    • 6.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
    • 6.3 ISP market
      • 6.3.1 Overview
      • 6.3.2 Qualitynet
      • 6.3.3 Zaji /KEMS
      • 6.3.4 Fast Telecommunications Company
      • 6.3.5 United Networks
    • 6.4 ADSL
    • 6.5 Wireless broadband
      • 6.5.1 WiMAX
      • 6.5.2 Internet via satellite
      • 6.5.3 Mobile broadband (access)
    • 6.6 VoIP
    • 6.7 Digital economy/digital media
      • 6.7.1 Overview
    • 6.8 Digital broadcasting
      • 6.8.1 Overview of broadcasting market
      • 6.8.2 Orbit Showtime Network (OSN)
  • 7. Lebanon
    • 7.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Lebanon
      • 7.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
    • 7.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
    • 7.3 Data service providers
      • 7.3.1 Overview
      • 7.3.2 Cable One (Wigo Lebanon)
      • 7.3.3 Cedarcom
      • 7.3.4 GlobalCom Data Services
      • 7.3.5 Pesco Telcom
      • 7.3.6 Sodetel
    • 7.4 ISP market
      • 7.4.1 IDM (Netlink)
      • 7.4.2 Cyberia
      • 7.4.3 TerraNet
      • 7.4.4 LYNX/Fiberlink Networks
    • 7.5 ADSL
    • 7.6 Cable modems
    • 7.7 Wireless broadband
      • 7.7.1 Local Multipoint Distribution System (LMDS)
      • 7.7.2 WiFi
      • 7.7.3 WiMAX
      • 7.7.4 iBurst
      • 7.7.5 Internet via satellite (Ku band services)
    • 7.8 VoIP
    • 7.9 Triple play
    • 7.10 Digital economy/digital media
      • 7.10.1 Overview
      • 7.10.2 Woopra
    • 7.11 Digital media
      • 7.11.1 Digital broadcasting overview
      • 7.11.2 Broadcasting regulation
      • 7.11.3 Free-to-Air (FTA) and satellite TV
      • 7.11.4 Pay TV
  • 8. Oman
    • 8.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Oman
      • 8.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
    • 8.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
    • 8.3 ADSL
    • 8.4 Wireless broadband
      • 8.4.1 WiFi
      • 8.4.2 WiMAX
      • 8.4.3 Mobile broadband
    • 8.5 Digital economy/digital media
      • 8.5.1 Overview
      • 8.5.2 Knowledge Oasis Muscat
      • 8.5.3 Services
    • 8.6 Digital broadcasting
      • 8.6.1 Overview of the broadcasting market
  • 9. Qatar
    • 9.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Qatar
      • 9.1.1 Broadband and Internet statistics
    • 9.2 Broadband forecasts
      • 9.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher growth
      • 9.2.2 Scenario 2 – lower growth
    • 9.3 ADSL
    • 9.4 FttH
    • 9.5 Wireless Broadband
      • 9.5.1 WiFi
      • 9.5.2 WiMAX
      • 9.5.3 Mobile broadband
    • 9.6 Triple play
    • 9.7 VoIP
    • 9.8 Digital economy/digital media
      • 9.8.1 E-government
      • 9.8.2 E-health
    • 9.9 Digital broadcasting
      • 9.9.1 Overview of the broadcasting market
      • 9.9.2 IPTV
      • 9.9.3 Al Jazeera
      • 9.9.4 Qatar Cable Vision
  • 10. Saudi Arabia
    • 10.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Saudi Arabia
      • 10.1.1 Censorship
      • 10.1.2 Broadband statistics
    • 10.2 ISP market
    • 10.3 ADSL
    • 10.4 Broadband powerline (BPL)
    • 10.5 Wireless broadband
      • 10.5.1 WiFi
      • 10.5.2 WiMAX
      • 10.5.3 Mobile broadband
      • 10.5.4 Internet via satellite
    • 10.6 Digital Economy/Digital media
      • 10.6.1 Services
      • 10.6.2 Digital media
    • 10.7 Digital Broadcasting
      • 10.7.1 Overview of broadcasting market
      • 10.7.2 Satellite-based digital Pay TV
  • 11. Syria
    • 11.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Syria
      • 11.1.1 Censorship
      • 11.1.2 Internet and broadband statistics
    • 11.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
    • 11.3 ISP market
      • 11.3.1 Major ISPs
    • 11.4 Wireless broadband
      • 11.4.1 Mobile broadband
    • 11.5 Digital economy/digital media
      • 11.5.1 Overview
      • 11.5.2 Services
    • 11.6 Digital broadcasting
      • 11.6.1 Overview of the broadcasting market
  • 12. Turkey
    • 12.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Turkey
      • 12.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
    • 12.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts – 2014; 2019
      • 12.2.1 Scenario 1 – higher broadband subscriber growth
      • 12.2.2 Scenario 2 – lower broadband subscriber growth
    • 12.3 ADSL
    • 12.4 Cable modems
    • 12.5 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) networks
    • 12.6 Wireless broadband
      • 12.6.1 WiFi
      • 12.6.2 Mobile broadband
      • 12.6.3 Mobile broadband (Access)
    • 12.7 Digital Media / Digital Economy
      • 12.7.1 Overview
      • 12.7.2 Services
      • 12.7.3 Digital broadcasting
  • 13. United Arab Emirates
    • 13.1 Overview of the broadband access market in UAE
      • 13.1.1 Censorship and site blocking
      • 13.1.2 Dubai Internet City (DIC)
    • 13.2 Broadband Statistics
    • 13.3 Internet access locations
    • 13.4 ISP market
    • 13.5 VoIP
    • 13.6 Fibre to the Home (FttH)
    • 13.7 ADSL
    • 13.8 Cable modems
    • 13.9 Wireless broadband
      • 13.9.1 WiFi
      • 13.9.2 WiMAX
      • 13.9.3 Mobile broadband
      • 13.9.4 Internet via satellite
    • 13.10 Digital Media / Digital Economy
      • 13.10.1 Overview
      • 13.10.2 Services
      • 13.10.3 Smart cities/smart communities
      • 13.10.4 Digital media
      • 13.10.5 Digital broadcasting
  • 14. Yemen
    • 14.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Yemen
      • 14.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
    • 14.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
    • 14.3 ADSL
    • 14.4 Digital broadcasting overview
  • 15. Glossary of Abbreviations
  • Table 1 – Internet users and penetration estimates in Bahrain - 1995 - 2011
  • Table 2 – Internet subscribers in Bahrain - 1999 - 2009
  • Table 3 – Broadband subscribers in Bahrain - 2005 - 2009
  • Table 4 – Broadband subscribers by access method in Bahrain – 2004 - 2009
  • Table 5 – Dial-up Internet subscribers in Bahrain - 2005 - 2009
  • Table 6 – Market share of Internet and broadband by access method in Bahrain – 2004 - 2009
  • Table 7 – Broadband subscribers by access speed in Bahrain – 2007 - 2009
  • Table 8 – Household fixed broadband penetration rate in Bahrain – 2007 - 2009
  • Table 9 – Business broadband subscribers by access method in Bahrain – 2004 - 2008
  • Table 10 – Broadband monthly ARPU in Bahrain – 2007 - 2008
  • Table 11 – Internet users and penetration estimates in Iran – 1996 - 2011
  • Table 12 – Internet subscriber estimates in Iran – 1999 - 2010
  • Table 13 – ADSL subscribers in Iran – 2000 - 2010
  • Table 14 – Internet user and subscriber estimates in Iraq – 2001 - 2011
  • Table 15 – Internet users, penetration and household penetration estimates in Israel – 1997 - 2011
  • Table 16 – Broadband subscribers, annual change and household penetration in Israel – 2001 - 2009
  • Table 17 – ADSL and cable networks – subscribers and market share in Israel – 2005 - 2010
  • Table 18 – Bezeq ADSL subscriber ARPU – 2005 - 2010
  • Table 19 – ISP market shares in Israel – 2005 - 2009
  • Table 20 – NetVision broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2009
  • Table 21 – Walla! Communications revenue and profit – 2005 - 2010
  • Table 22 – Broadcasting market statistical overview in Israel – 2009
  • Table 23 – HOT cable TV subscribers – 2007 - 2009
  • Table 24 – YES revenue and profit – 2007 - 2010
  • Table 25 – YES satellite TV subscribers, market share and ARPU – 2002 - 2010
  • Table 26 – Internet users and penetration rate in Jordan – 1995 - 2011
  • Table 27 – Internet subscribers and penetration rate in Jordan – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 28 – Internet subscribers by access method in Jordan – 2009
  • Table 29 – DSL subscribers in Jordan - 2001 - 2009
  • Table 30 – JRTVC revenue – 2005 - 2007
  • Table 31 – Internet user and penetration estimates in Kuwait – 1995 - 2011
  • Table 32 – Internet subscribers in Kuwait - 2003 - 2011
  • Table 33 – Broadband subscribers in Kuwait - 2001 - 2011
  • Table 34 – Internet user and penetration estimates in Lebanon – 1995-– 2011
  • Table 35 – Internet subscribers in Lebanon – 2001 - 2011
  • Table 36 – ADSL subscribers in Lebanon – 2008 - 2011
  • Table 37 – Cable modem Internet subscribers in Lebanon – 2002 - 2009
  • Table 38 – Internet users and penetration estimates in Oman – 1998 - 2011
  • Table 39 – Fixed-line Internet subscribers in Oman – 2000 - 2010
  • Table 40 – Internet sector ARPU in Oman – 2005 - 2009
  • Table 41 – Leased-line subscribers in Oman – 2004 - 2010
  • Table 42 – ADSL subscribers in Oman – 2005 - 2010
  • Table 43 – Internet users and penetration estimates in Qatar – 1995 - 2011
  • Table 44 – Internet subscribers in Qatar - 1999 - 2011
  • Table 45 – ADSL subscribers in Qatar – 2003 - 2011
  • Table 46 – Forecast broadband subscribers in Qatar – higher growth scenario – 2011, 2012; 2015
  • Table 47 – Forecast broadband subscribers in Qatar – lower growth scenario – 2011, 2012; 2015
  • Table 48 – Qtel triple play subscribers – 2008 - 2010
  • Table 49 – Internet users and penetration estimates in Saudi Arabia – 1995 - 2011
  • Table 50 – Broadband subscribers and household penetration in Saudi Arabia – 2001 - 2009
  • Table 51 – Mobily mobile broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2010
  • Table 52 – Internet user and penetration rate estimates in Syria – 1999 - 2011
  • Table 53 – Internet subscribers and penetration rate in Syria – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 54 – ADSL subscribers in Syria – 2004 - 2009
  • Table 55 – Internet user and penetration rate estimates in Turkey – 1998 - 2011
  • Table 56 – Internet subscribers and penetration rate in Turkey – 2003 - 2009
  • Table 57 – Broadband subscribers and penetration in Turkey – 2001 - 2009
  • Table 58 – Broadband subscribers by access technology in Turkey – 2004 - 2009
  • Table 59 – Broadband market shares in Turkey – 2007 - 2009
  • Table 60 – Forecast broadband subscribers – higher market growth scenario – 2014; 2019
  • Table 61 – Forecast broadband subscribers – lower market growth scenario – 2014; 2019
  • Table 62 – Turk Telekom ADSL ARPU and proportion of total fixed-line revenue – 2007 - 2010
  • Table 63 – Electronic certificate and mobile electronic certificate ownership in Turkey – 2005 - 2009
  • Table 64 – Audience share by channel in Turkey – 2006 - 2008
  • Table 65 – Internet user and penetration estimates in UAE – 1995 - 2011
  • Table 66 – Internet subscribers and penetration in UAE – 2000 - 2011
  • Table 67 – Internet and broadband subscribers by access method in UAE – 2000 - 2010
  • Table 68 – Residential and business Internet and broadband subscribers in UAE – 2007 - 2009
  • Table 69 – Broadband subscribers by operator in UAE – 2000 - 2010
  • Table 70 – Total Internet revenue and Internet and broadband ARPU in UAE – 2007 - 2009
  • Table 71 – du IPTV subscribers – 2008 - 2010
  • Table 72 – Internet user and penetration estimates in Yemen – 1997 - 2011
  • Table 73 – Internet subscribers in Yemen – 2001 - 2011
  • Table 74 – ADSL subscribers in Yemen – 2007 - 2011

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Digital Media
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Number of pages 107

Status Archived

Last updated 10 Aug 2010
Update History

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