Shifting sands

The past year has brought major change in the telco sector, and much reason for optimism for 2011.

  • E-Mail
Shifting sands Many telcos in the MEA region are poised to reap the benefits of investments made in the past year.
By  Roger Field Published  December 15, 2010

The past year has seen numerous major developments in the region's telecoms sector, from the entry of Bharti Airtel into the region in June, to LTE trials from some of the Gulf's leading operators, and the launch of further MVNOs.

Despite continued economic difficulties around the world, the region's telecoms sector continues to grow and develop at a rapid pace.

And unlike some of the growth witnessed in the run up to the credit crisis of 2008, the type of growth and development that we are now seeing indicates a new level of maturity.

While foreign companies continue to look at opportunities in the Middle East and Africa, companies from this region are also looking at opportunities for expansion and consolidation in the region and beyond.

The successful expansion of many of the region's operators in markets including India, Malaysia, and the Philippines is testament to the skill and experience of some of the region's operators.

But of course, running a successful telecom operation is about more than geographic expansion, and this is also something that has been amply demonstrated over the past year.

Indeed, one of the major trends in recent months has been a commitment from the region's operators to seize the initiative and begin developing a variety of applications tailored for both local and international markets. This approach holds huge potential for bringing new revenue streams for operators, better content for Arab markets, and the potential to stimulate new jobs and new ways of doing business.

From online games, to Arabic web portals and video-on-demand, operators in the region are leading the way in the telecoms sector and proving that they can surmount the challenges they face.

Judging by the level of innovation demonstrated by companies involved in the region's telecoms sector in 2010, the coming year will produce even more innovation and growth than the past 12 months.

With mobile broadband, fibre-to-the-home, and mobile applications featuring heavily in the nominations received for last month's CommsMEA awards, the region's operators appear to be well positioned to benefit from nascent sectors including machine-to- machine communications, IPTV and video-on-demand.

While it is difficult to predict where the region's telecoms sector will be in a year's time in terms of consolidation, it is clear that it is well positioned to meet the challenges ahead.

Closer to home, another change that occurred in the sector in recent weeks was the retirement of a person well known to many people in the region's telecoms sector.

Terry Good worked as sales manager on CommsMEA for some 15 years, and has been involved with the telecoms sector for far longer. He served as a radio operator in the British Royal Air Force in 1960s and 70s and then joined Cable & Wireless.

Terry entered the world of telecoms publishing in 1979, and joined ITP in 1995 and played a key role in the development of CommsMEA. The CommsMEA team wishes Terry all the best for the future.

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code