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2017 Middle East - Mobile Infrastructure and Mobile Broadband

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Last updated: 23 Oct 2017 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 143

Analyst: Kylie Wansink

Publication Overview

This valuable report on the mobile broadband sector in the Middle East provides information on trends and developments in this mostly progressive region which relies heavily on mobile communications. A number of recent investments in infrastructure have seen 4G LTE services flourish in many markets. This report provides key information and statistics on the mobile broadband sector for the Middle East. Included in the report are the following countries: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

Researcher:- Kylie Wansink
Current publication date:- October 2017 (3rd Edition)

Executive Summary

Driving forces enable mobile broadband growth in the Middle East

The Middle East has become an excellent example of how the existence of various key components, are required to drive growth in the mobile broadband sector. These components may include: general civic and political stability; a supportive government which promotes telecom competition and fair regulation; high levels of investment in mobile infrastructure; high mobile penetration; affordable pricing of devices and services and adequate spectrum availability.

The countries which best meet these criteria in the Middle East are showing significant progress towards developing sophisticated mobile broadband sectors – while the ones which are lacking in some areas are beginning to fall noticeably behind.

The existence of 4G LTE services is an important step towards keeping in step on a regional level and progress towards 5G development is also becoming an important factor.

  • Bahrain was one of the first countries in the region to launch LTE services.
  • Around 30% of mobile subscribers in Iran have a smart phone.
  • Mobile data services will become an increasingly important source of new revenue in Iraq.
  • There is a perception that 4G services and devices are too costly in Israel.
  • 4G penetration in Jordan accounts for one fifth market share compared to 3G penetration.
  • The underdeveloped mobile broadband market offers a new revenue growth opportunity for the mobile network operators in Kuwait.
  • 4G network coverage is increasing and expanding in Lebanon.
  • Messaging activity in Oman is migrating from SMS/MMS to OTT messaging applications.
  • Both operators in Qatar are investing in mobile network upgrades which is also increasing speeds.
  • STC has the largest mobile market share in Saudi Arabia in terms of subscribers.
  • Most mobile users in Syria prefer prepaid services.
  • Mobile broadband has emerged as the most popular broadband platform in Turkey, overtaking ADSL.
  • OTT operators are generally discouraged in the United Arab Emirates.
  • Mobile broadband is very under-developed in Yemen.

Mobile broadband penetration in some countries like Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Jordan are reaching quite high levels and these countries are progressing ahead with data revenue growth, 5G planning and preparation and network upgrades. However other countries such as Yemen, Syria, Iran and Iraq still have room for enormous growth in terms of mobile broadband infrastructure and services - and will require changes in various country and industry dynamics for this to occur.

This unique report provides a regional overview of the mobile broadband sector in the Middle East including Bahrain; Iran; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Oman; Qatar; Saudi Arabia; Syria; Turkey; United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Included are key industry statistics; market analysis and subscriber data.

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Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.

Dominic Schipano, CITT

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