Report: Regional cellular subscribers reach 194 million in H1 2008

Arab Advisors Group report reveals Al Jawwal, Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt have the most subscribers

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  December 3, 2008

A new report by the Arab Advisors Group claims that regional telecommunication operators served 194.5 million cellular and 35 million mainline subscribers by the end of June 2008.

The report - A Scorecard of Key Performance Indicators of Arab Telecom Operators 2008 – analysed and ranked 30 fixed service operators and 50 cellular operators in nineteen countries including Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Oman, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

STC’s Al Jawwal, Egypt’s Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt were found to be the largest Arab cellular operators in terms of subscribers – capturing 17.8 million, 16.3 million and 15.2 million subscribers respectively.

The United Arab Emirates had the highest cellular penetration at 198.6%, followed by Saudi Arabia at 123.3%. Interestingly, the UAE was also found to have the highest fixed penetration rate at 29.4%.

Based on the Average Revenue Per Use (ARPU), Qtel caught the lead for its fixed services while Zain Kuwait boasted the same for cellular services by H1 2008.

“The Arab cellular markets continue to grow at a high pace, while the fixed line markets are either growing slowly or stagnating. By H1 2008, cellular operators added around 18 million subscribers while all the fixed line operators added a mere 1.4 million mainlines,” commented Issa Goussous, senior research analyst at Arab Advisors Group in the report.

“Competition in cellular services is a main driver for growth. Several cellular operators recorded high growth rates by H1 2008. Al Madar Aljadid in Libya recorded the highest growth rate amongst all cellular operators, which stood at 57.1%, followed by UAE’s du at 53.3%” added Goussous.

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