Middle East consumers going wireless

Middle East consumers are increasingly heading into the wireless age, according to the latest research by wireless information provider Info2cell.com.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  May 2, 2004

Middle East consumers are increasingly heading into the wireless age, according to the latest research by wireless information provider Info2cell.com. Info2cell.com’s latest survey found that multi-functional mobile phones are being increasingly adopted and used like wireless PCs across the region. According to Info2cell.com, there are over three million mobile phone users currently in the UAE, representing a 111% penetration amongst the country’s residents with this figure currently growing at an average of 10% each year. Amongst UAE mobile users are 250,000 MMS subscribers and more than 2,000 subscribers to the recently launched 3G (Third Generation) mobile service. Outside of the UAE and across the Middle East, mobile phone use is growing more quickly. Info2cell.com has calculated that there were 24 million mobile phone subscribers in the Arab world by the end of 2003, a 69% growth rate over the entire year. "With the rapid developments in technology and the introduction of mobiles devices with advanced features, the mobile phone has emerged as an ideal vehicle for delivery of information in the Middle East," said Bashar Dahabra, founder and general manager of Info2cell.com. "Mobile phones, handhelds and PDAs (personal digital assistants) are currently designed to perform like wireless PCs. Users can exchange textual and graphic content through SMS (short message service) and MMS (multimedia messaging service), schedule appointments, undertake voice recording, surf the web, send e-mails, download pictures and play MP3 files." Dahabra claimed that mobile users in the region are converting "rapidly" to 3G technology, which allows users to video-conference with friends and colleagues, watch live video streams or surf the Internet simultaneously, from one device. Info2Cell believes mobile phones and PDAs will continue to become more popular in the region over the coming years, as is also the case in the rest of the world. The company also said that in the Middle East the number of mobile phone users now exceeds fixed landline subscribers.

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