Middle East - Mobile Infrastructure and Mobile Broadband

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.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Regional Market
    • 1.1 Mobile broadband subscriber statistics
  • 2. Bahrain
    • 2.1 Market analysis
    • 2.2 Mobile statistics
      • 2.2.1 General statistics
    • 2.3 Mobile voice
      • 2.3.1 Prepaid
      • 2.3.2 Mobile data
    • 2.4 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 2.5 Regulatory issues
      • 2.5.1 Second mobile licence
      • 2.5.2 Third mobile licence
      • 2.5.3 Prepaid subscriber registration
      • 2.5.4 Roaming tariff reduction
      • 2.5.5 MNP
    • 2.6 Mobile infrastructure
      • 2.6.1 Brief intro analogue networks
      • 2.6.2 Digital networks
      • 2.6.3 5G
    • 2.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 2.7.1 m-commerce
      • 2.7.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 2.7.3 m-TV
    • 2.8 Mobile handsets
  • 3. Iran
    • 3.1 Market analysis
      • 3.1.1 Introduction of MVNOs in Iran
    • 3.2 Mobile statistics
      • 3.2.1 General statistics
      • 3.2.2 Mobile data
    • 3.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 3.4 Regulatory issues
      • 3.4.1 Second mobile licence – MTN Irancell
      • 3.4.2 Third Mobile licence – Tamin Telecom (Rightel)
    • 3.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 3.5.1 Digital networks
    • 3.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 3.6.1 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 3.6.2 Apps
    • 3.7 Mobile handsets
  • 4. Iraq
    • 4.1 Market analysis
      • 4.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 4.2 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 4.3 Regulatory issues
      • 4.3.1 Temporary mobile licences awarded in 2003
      • 4.3.2 Permanent licences awarded in 2007
      • 4.3.3 Fourth mobile licence
    • 4.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 4.4.1 3G
      • 4.4.2 LTE
      • 4.4.3 Satellite mobile
    • 4.5 Mobile data
      • 4.5.1 Mobile Messaging
    • 4.6 Mobile content and applications
    • 4.7 m-banking and m-payments
    • 4.8 m-TV
    • 4.9 Apps
  • 5. Israel
    • 5.1 Market analysis
    • 5.2 Mobile statistics
      • 5.2.1 General statistics
      • 5.2.2 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 5.3 Mobile infrastructure
      • 5.3.1 Brief intro analogue networks
      • 5.3.2 Digital networks
      • 5.3.3 IoT and M2M networks
      • 5.3.4 Regulatory issues
      • 5.3.5 Mobile content and applications
      • 5.3.6 m-commerce
      • 5.3.7 m-advertising
      • 5.3.8 m-TV
      • 5.3.9 Apps
    • 5.4 Mobile handsets
  • 6. Jordan
    • 6.1 Market analysis
    • 6.2 Mobile statistics
      • 6.2.1 General statistics
    • 6.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 6.4 Regulatory issues
      • 6.4.1 Third GSM licence
      • 6.4.2 3G licences
      • 6.4.3 4G spectrum
      • 6.4.4 SIM card registration
      • 6.4.5 MTRs
    • 6.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 6.5.1 Digital networks
      • 6.5.2 Satellite mobile
    • 6.6 IoT and M2M networks
    • 6.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 6.7.1 m-commerce
      • 6.7.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
    • 6.8 Mobile handsets
  • 7. Kuwait
    • 7.1 Market analysis
      • 7.1.1 Mobile statistics
    • 7.2 Mobile voice services
      • 7.2.1 Prepaid
      • 7.2.2 Satellite mobile
    • 7.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 7.4 Regulatory issues
      • 7.4.1 Third mobile operator
      • 7.4.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 7.4.3 Roaming tariff reduction
      • 7.4.4 Spectrum refarming for LTE
    • 7.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 7.5.1 Analogue networks
      • 7.5.2 Digital networks
      • 7.5.3 5G
      • 7.5.4 Other infrastructure developments
      • 7.5.5 IoT and M2M networks
    • 7.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 7.6.1 SMS and MMS
      • 7.6.2 OTT messaging services
      • 7.6.3 m-TV
      • 7.6.4 m-advertising
      • 7.6.5 m-banking
  • 8. Lebanon
    • 8.1 Market analysis
    • 8.2 Mobile statistics
      • 8.2.1 General statistics
    • 8.3 Mobile voice
      • 8.3.1 Prepaid
      • 8.3.2 Satellite mobile
      • 8.3.3 Mobile VoIP
    • 8.4 Mobile data
      • 8.4.1 SMS and MMS
      • 8.4.2 OTT messaging services
    • 8.5 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 8.6 Regulatory issues
      • 8.6.1 Overview
      • 8.6.2 Lebanon’s current mobile contracts
      • 8.6.3 Open international tender 2015
    • 8.7 Mobile infrastructure
      • 8.7.1 Digital networks
    • 8.8 IoT and M2M networks
    • 8.9 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.9.1 m-commerce
      • 8.9.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 8.9.3 m-TV
      • 8.9.4 Apps
    • 8.10 Mobile handsets
  • 9. Oman
    • 9.1 Mobile market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.2.1 General statistics
      • 9.2.2 Mobile voice
      • 9.2.3 Mobile data
    • 9.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 9.4 Regulatory issues
      • 9.4.1 Second mobile licence
      • 9.4.2 Third mobile licence
      • 9.4.3 Reseller/MVNO licences
      • 9.4.4 Roaming
      • 9.4.5 MNP
    • 9.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.5.1 Brief intro analogue networks
      • 9.5.2 Digital networks
      • 9.5.3 IoT and M2M networks
    • 9.6 Mobile handsets
  • 10. Qatar
    • 10.1 Market analysis
    • 10.2 Mobile statistics
      • 10.2.1 General statistics
      • 10.2.2 Mobile voice
      • 10.2.3 Mobile data
    • 10.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 10.4 Regulatory issues
      • 10.4.1 Second mobile licence
      • 10.4.2 Mobile virtual network operator (MVNO)
      • 10.4.3 Roaming tariff reduction
      • 10.4.4 NP
    • 10.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 10.5.1 Brief intro analogue networks
      • 10.5.2 Digital networks
    • 10.6 Mobile content and applications
      • 10.6.1 m-commerce
      • 10.6.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
      • 10.6.3 m-TV
      • 10.6.4 m-health
    • 10.7 Mobile handsets
  • 11. Saudi Arabia
    • 11.1 Market analysis
    • 11.2 Mobile statistics
      • 11.2.1 General statistics
      • 11.2.2 Mobile voice
      • 11.2.3 Mobile data
    • 11.3 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 11.4 Regulatory issues
      • 11.4.1 Award of second GSM mobile licence
      • 11.4.2 iDEN contract awarded
      • 11.4.3 Award of Third Generation (3G) licences
      • 11.4.4 Award of third mobile licence
      • 11.4.5 Mobile license extensions 2016
      • 11.4.6 Roaming
      • 11.4.7 MTRs
      • 11.4.8 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • 11.4.9 Fingerprinting law
    • 11.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 11.5.1 GSM, 3G
      • 11.5.2 LTE, LTE-A
      • 11.5.3 Satellite mobile
    • 11.6 IoT and M2M networks
    • 11.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 11.7.1 m-commerce
      • 11.7.2 m-banking (payments/loans)
    • 11.8 Mobile handsets
  • 12. Syria
    • 12.1 Market analysis
    • 12.2 Mobile statistics
    • 12.3 Mobile voice
      • 12.3.1 Prepaid
    • 12.4 Mobile data
      • 12.4.1 SMS and MMS
    • 12.5 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 12.6 Regulatory issues
      • 12.6.1 Third mobile licence
      • 12.6.2 Current BOT contracts/Long term free hold licenses
    • 12.7 Mobile infrastructure
      • 12.7.1 GSM, 3G
      • 12.7.2 Satellite mobile
    • 12.8 Mobile content and applications
      • 12.8.1 m-banking (payments/loans)
  • 13. Turkey
    • 13.1 Market analysis
    • 13.2 Mobile statistics
      • 13.2.1 General statistics
      • 13.2.2 Mobile voice
      • 13.2.3 SMS and MMS
      • 13.2.4 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 13.3 Regulatory issues
      • 13.3.1 Overview (recent general laws and regulations)
      • 13.3.2 Third Generation (3G) licences
      • 13.3.3 Third and fourth GSM licences
      • 13.3.4 Significant market power (SMP)
      • 13.3.5 MTRs
      • 13.3.6 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 13.3.7 Telsim privatisation
    • 13.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 13.4.1 4G, LTE
      • 13.4.2 5G
  • 14. United Arab Emirates
    • 14.1 Market analysis
    • 14.2 Mobile statistics
      • 14.2.1 General statistics
      • 14.2.2 Mobile voice
      • 14.2.3 Mobile data
      • 14.2.4 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 14.3 Regulatory issues
      • 14.3.1 Roaming tariff reduction
      • 14.3.2 MNP
    • 14.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 14.4.1 Brief intro analogue networks
      • 14.4.2 Digital networks
      • 14.4.3 IoT and M2M networks
    • 14.5 Mobile content and applications
      • 14.5.1 m-commerce
      • 14.5.2 m-TV
    • 14.6 Mobile handsets
  • 15. Yemen
    • 15.1 Market analysis
    • 15.2 Mobile statistics
    • 15.3 Mobile data
      • 15.3.1 SMS and MMS
      • 15.3.2 OTT messaging services
    • 15.4 Mobile broadband statistics
    • 15.5 Regulatory issues
      • 15.5.1 GSM licences awarded
      • 15.5.2 Third GSM licence
    • 15.6 Mobile infrastructure
    • 15.7 Mobile handsets
    • Table 1 – Middle East countries – mobile broadband subscriptions; penetration and coverage - 2016
    • Table 2 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 2005 - 2017
    • Table 4 – Mobile market revenue – 2007 - 2015
    • Table 5 – Mobile monthly ARPU – 2008 - 2014
    • Table 6 – Bahrain total prepaid mobile subscribers - 1999 – Q3 2016
    • Table 7 – Zain Bahrain prepaid subscribers - 2004 - 2015
    • Table 8 – SMS message sent – 2008 - 2013
    • Table 9 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2012 – 2017
    • Table 10 – Accepted cumulative mobile number portability requests – 2011 – Q3 2016
    • Table 11 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 12 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2017
    • Table 13 – Mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2012 – 2016
    • Table 14 – Mobile data users by major operator and technology – Q3 2016
    • Table 15 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2017
    • Table 16 – Mobile operator market shares – 2004 – Q1 2017
    • Table 17 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2014; 2016
    • Table 18 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 19 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2017
    • Table 20 – Major mobile operators’ market share by subscribers – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 21 – Major mobile operators’ mobile ARPU– 2013 - 2016
    • Table 22 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2010 - 2017
    • Table 23 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 24 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 – 2016
    • Table 25 – Mobile operators and subscribers – 2015
    • Table 26 – Major mobile operators’ market share – 2004 – 2015
    • Table 27 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2010 – 2016
    • Table 28 – Mobile Termination Rates – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 29 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 30 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2017
    • Table 31 – Mobile operators’ market share – 2005 - 2016
    • Table 32 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – 2016
    • Table 33 – Zain and Ooredoo – prepaid share – 2005 - 2015
    • Table 34 - Kuwait - active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2015 – 2017
    • Table 35 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 36 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2017
    • Table 37 – Mobile operators’ market share – 2004 – 1H 2015
    • Table 38 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2011 - 2017
    • Table 39 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 40 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 – 2017
    • Table 41 – Mobile sector total ARPU – 2005 – 2015
    • Table 42 – Operators mobile market share by subscribers – 2012 - 2016
    • Table 43 – Total prepaid and postpaid subscribers – 2005 - 2016
    • Table 44 – SMS messages sent – 2006 - 2014
    • Table 45 – MMS messages sent – 2010 - 2015
    • Table 46 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2008 - 2017
    • Table 47 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 48 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2017
    • Table 49 – Mobile operators’ market share – 2009 - 2015
    • Table 50 – Ooredoo and Vodafone – prepaid share – 2000 - 2014
    • Table 51 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2008 - 2017
    • Table 52 - Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 53 - Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2007 – Q2 2017
    • Table 54 – Major mobile operators’ subscribers and market shares – 2005 - 2015
    • Table 55 – Saudi Arabia – prepaid subscribers – 2002 -Q3 2016
    • Table 56 – Zain prepaid subscribers – 2008 - 2015
    • Table 57 – Mobile broadband subscriptions – technologies and penetration – 2010 – Q2 2017
    • Table 58 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2016
    • Table 59 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2009 - 2016
    • Table 60 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 61 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2005 - 2017
    • Table 62 – 2G; 3G; 4G subscribers – 2009 – 2016
    • Table 63 – Breakdown of mobile revenue – 2008 – Q1 2016
    • Table 64 – Mobile operators’ revenue market share by service – 2016
    • Table 65 - Mobile subscribers by operator – 2007 – Q1 2016
    • Table 66 – Mobile operators’ market share by subscriber– 2007 – Q1 2017
    • Table 67 – Ratio of prepaid to postpaid subscribers – 2000 – 2016
    • Table 68 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2008 – Q1 2017
    • Table 69 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 70 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 – 2017
    • Table 71 – UAE – mobile operators’ market share by subscribers – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 72 – UAE – mobile revenue and ARPU – 2008 - 2015
    • Table 73 – UAE – prepaid vs postpaid revenue – 2008 - 2015
    • Table 74 – UAE – prepaid subscribers – 2005 – 2017 1H
    • Table 75 – UAE – SMS and MMS sent – 2007 - 2015
    • Table 76 – UAE – mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2016
    • Table 77 – UAE – handset manufacturers’ market share – 2013; 2015; 2017
    • Table 78 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004
    • Table 79 – Mobile subscribers and penetration – 2005 - 2016
    • Table 80 – Active mobile broadband subscriptions – 2011 - 2016
    • Chart 1 – Mobile operators’ market share at a glance - 2015
    • Chart 2 – Mobile operator market share by subscribers – Q1 2017

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Number of pages 143

Status Current

Last updated 23 Oct 2017
Update History

Analyst: Kylie Wansink

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