Number of Net users zooms 600%


Rapidly falling broadband access charges and continuous efforts to upgrade the network infrastructure were the key factors fuelling growth in the Middle East broadband market. As a result, the number of broadband subscribers increased by an estimated 48 per cent in 2007 from 2006. The number of broadband subscribers is expected to surge at a CAGR of approx 50 per cent during the period spanning from 2008 to 2010.

The report says that the growth in broadband penetration has been tremendous across the region with a significant rise in household penetration among some more advanced Gulf States.

The RNCOS research of the Middle Eastern broadband market covered Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Lebanon, Israel, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Oman and Iran.

The region’s soaring broadband demand has been propelled by the inadequacy of existing broadband infrastructure, and government policies promoting rapid broadband adoption as a tool for economic development.
Throughout the Middle East region, incumbent and alternative fixed-line operators were rolling out IPTV, helping the operators better maintain their main-line base and gradually increase spend per customer in the face of falling ADSL prices.

Israel had the highest number of broadband subscribers in 2007, followed by Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE. Although the broadband market in the Middle East is undergoing significant developments, the matrix of subscribers at the country level is anticipated to change in near future, the report revealed.

Egypt is poised to report highest growth in its broadband subscriber base among the Middle Eastern countries at a CAGR of over 83 per cent from 2008 to 2010. The total number of 3G subscribers in the Middle East is expected to surpass four million by 2010 end, growing at a CAGR of around 60 per cent.

Overall, the Middle East broadband market is poised to grow at rapid pace in the backdrop of positive economic outlook and increased market liberalization, the report said. The aggressive developments in the field of technology by the Gulf countries to change their image from oil-rich countries to technologically-developed nations has created huge opportunities for domestic as well as foreign players seeking to make way into these potential markets.

“High demand for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) products and services in the Middle East is making the region an attractive proposition for the development of high speed broadband access market. Governments across the region are adopting policies to promote the uptake of broadband technology.

In particular, aggressive development by the Gulf countries in the field of technology in their quest to break their image of ‘oil-rich’ region has created many opportunities for foreign as well as domestic players looking to access new markets.”

However, variations in the speed with which this is occurring has led to wide disparities in broadband penetration rates from nation to nation.


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