United Arab Emirates - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Operators in the United Arab Emirates focusing heavily on 5G

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 2019 both Etisalat and du are demonstrating keen interest in developing 5G technology and are strongly supported by the TRA which has allocated spectrum bands.

The first two MVNOs began offering services in the UAE in 2017 – however this has not impacted upon competition in any significant way as both are wholly owned either by du and Etisalat. The operators however are facing challenges with the saturated mobile market stifling voice growth.

Etisalat and du have 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 the majority of the mobile handsets. The growing availability of low cost smart phones has driven mobile broadband penetration up sharply in the last couple of years. Both Etisalat and Du launched 5G capable handsets in 2019.

The well-established fibre-broadband network in the UAE is providing the operators with opportunities to grow new services and offerings such as triple-play.

Key developments:

  • The UAE boasts mobile penetration levels that are among the worlds’ highest;
  • Recently the TRA was encouraging affordable roaming rates within GCC countries;
  • In 2018 Etisalat sold its 28% share of Thuraya;
  • The UAE has attracted international interest from data centre operators.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

Etisalat; du; Thuraya; Yahsat; Virgin Mobile; Swyp.

Table of Contents

  • Key statistics

  • Country overview

  • Telecommunications market

    • Historical overview
    • Market analysis
    • Key recent developments
  • Regulatory environment

    • Historic overview
    • Regulatory authority
    • Draft bill for new authority
    • Telecom sector liberalisation
      • Second operator
      • Third operator
      • Satellite licence
    • Interconnect and access
    • Fibre access
    • Number Portability (NP)
    • Royalty payments
    • Censorship
    • Roaming tariff reduction
    • VoIP
  • Fixed network operators

    • Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)
    • Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company/du
    • Yahsat
  • Telecommunications infrastructure

    • Overview of the national telecom network
      • Fixed-line statistics
    • International infrastructure
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Terrestrial cable networks
      • Satellites
    • Data centres, cloud computing
    • Smart infrastructure
      • Smart grids
      • Smart cities
      • Connected homes
  • Fixed broadband market

    • Introduction and statistical overview
      • Market analysis
      • Broadband statistics
    • Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
    • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • Other fixed broadband services
      • Fixed wireless (WiFi, WiMAX)
  • Mobile market

    • Market analysis
    • Mobile statistics
    • Mobile broadband statistics
    • Mobile infrastructure
      • Brief intro analogue networks
      • 5G
      • LTE
      • GSM, 3G
    • Major mobile operators
      • Etisalat
      • du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company)
      • MVNOs
    • Mobile content and applications
      • M-commerce
      • M-payments
    • Mobile handsets
  • Appendix – Historic Data

  • Related reports


List of Tables

  • Table 1 – Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities – United Arab Emirates – 2019
  • Table 2 – UAE – GDP and inflation – 2014 – 2019
  • Table 3 – UAE – telecommunications revenue – 2007 – 2017
  • Table 4 – Etisalat group revenue and net profit – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 5 – Etisalat – UAE fixed broadband subscribers – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 6 – du revenue – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 7 – UAE – fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2009 – 2024
  • Table 8 – UAE – internet penetration – 2008 – 2018
  • Table 9 – UAE – fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2009 - 2024
  • Table 10 – UAE – international internet bandwidth – 2008 - 2018
  • Table 11 – UAE – subscribers to FttH/FttB – 2012 – 2017
  • Table 12 – UAE – Operators fibre broadband market share – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 13 – UAE – DSL subscriptions in decline – 2008 -2017
  • Table 14 – UAE - mobile subscribers and penetration – 2009 – 2024
  • Table 15 – UAE – prepaid subscribers – 2009 – Q1 2019
  • Table 16 - UAE – mobile broadband subscribers and penetration – 2010 - 2024
  • Table 17 – UAE – mobile operators’ market share by subscribers – 2010 – 1H 2018
  • Table 18 – Etisalat (UAE) mobile subscribers and blended ARPU – 2011 – 2018
  • Table 19 – du mobile revenue – 2017; 2018
  • Table 20 – du mobile subscribers and ARPU – 2010 – 2018
  • Table 21 – Historic - UAE – fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 – 2008
  • Table 22 – Historic - UAE – internet users and penetration – 1998 – 2008
  • Table 23 – Historic - UAE – fixed broadband subscribers and penetration – 2001 - 2008
  • Table 24 – Historic - UAE – domestic and international voice revenue – 2008 – 2015
  • Table 25 – Historic - UAE – international telephone revenues – 2008 – 2015
  • Table 26 – Historic - UAE – monthly fixed-line ARPU and MOU – 2008 – 2015
  • Table 27 – Historic - UAE – mobile revenue and ARPU – 2008 - 2015
  • Table 28 – Historic - UAE - mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2008
  • Table 29 – Historic - UAE – prepaid vs postpaid revenue – 2008 - 2015
  • Table 30 – Historic - UAE – prepaid subscribers – 2005 – 2008
  • Table 31 – Historic - UAE – SMS and MMS sent – 2007 - 2015
  • Table 32 – Historic - Etisalat group revenue and net profit – 2005 – 2007
  • Table 33 – Historical - du mobile minutes of use (MOU) – 2010 – 2014

List of Charts

  • Chart 1 – Growth of fixed-lines in the UAE – 2009 – 2024
  • Chart 2 – Growth of mobile subscriptions in the UAE – 2009 – 2024
  • Chart 3 – Mobile broadband growth in the UAE – 2009 – 2024

List of Exhibits

  • Exhibit 1 – UAE – submarine cable networks

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