The UAE leads in global connectivity

The transformation phase that Arab communication markets are witnessing promises to increase the demand for international connectivity.

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By  Angela Prasad Published  April 5, 2005

Underlining its status as a major transit hub for voice and internet traffic, UAE’s Etisalat is ahead of all Arab operators in terms of international voice circuits capacity and internet bandwidth capacity. Saudi Arabia and Egypt follow closely with each country having 16% of the total internet capacity, according to the Arab Advisors Group. The transformation phase that Arab communication markets are witnessing promises to increase the demand for international connectivity. At present, most of Arab international long distance (ILD) communications markets have monopoly. However, liberalisation plans are in advanced stages in many of the region’s countries. Bahrain has already started deregulating its telecommunications market. Jordan has also started its market’s liberalisation process. Saudi Arabia’s two new data licensees have international gateway rights. These liberalisation plans, and others that may not have such clear timelines, will undoubtedly lead to more bandwidth requirements as new operators setup shop and lower cost-based rates. Tariff rebalancing, an essential prerequisite for liberalisation, will result in reduced international service rates and will heighten demand for the service. High demand, especially with the increased uptake of high speed broadband internet, will push operators into obtaining greater international bandwidths.

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