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United Arab Emirates - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 9 Mar 2018 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 24

Analyst: Kylie Wansink


The UAE has a very strong mobile market and it is closely guarded by the two major operators of Etisalat and du. Both operators are majority owned by the government. In 2017 the first two MVNOs began offering services in the UAE – however both are wholly owned either by du and Etisalat.

Etisalat and du have both deployed sophisticated HSPA+ and LTE networks that cover most of the population, underpinning growth opportunities centred on mobile broadband, content and applications. Smart phones are becoming increasingly popular, accounting for around two thirds of the country’s mobile handsets. The growing availability of low cost smart phones will drive penetration going forward.

In 2018 both Etisalat and du are demonstrating keen interest in developing 5G technology and are strongly supported by the TRA which has identified the spectrum bands which will be made available for deployment.

This BuddeComm report provides valuable insights on the UAE mobile market, including mobile broadband, and includes key trends and statistics.

Key highlights:

  • Prepaid services have been instrumental in encouraging mobile take-up by the mass market, and prepaid subscribers account for a large percentage of the market;
  • The mobile market is served by a duopoly comprised of incumbent Etisalat and, since 2007, competing operator du.
  • In 2017 the UAE operators launched their own VoIP offering;
  • Two MVNOs were also launched in the UAE in 2017;
  • The UAE hopes to commercially launch 5G in 2020.
  • Companies mentioned in this report:

Etisalat; du; Thuraya; Axiom Telecom; Virgin Mobile; Swyp.

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