Mideast mobile subscriptions to grow by 15% in 2009
Regional market set to outperform global subscription growth, according to new report.
The Middle East region represents one of the world’s fastest growing mobile subscription markets with a 47 percent year-on-year increase in 2008, according to Informa Telecoms & Media.
Globally, subscription growth of 11.7 percent is still expected for 2009, driven by increasingly mobile and growing populations, but the economies of Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East will be the engine for this growth, with a regional forecast of more than 15 percent subscription growth for the next year.
In contrast, growth of just below five percent is expected in Western Europe and 5.6 percent in North America in 2009, the Informa report added.
Mobile penetration in Arab countries reached 56 percent at end of the second half of 2008, although this figure is much higher across GCC markets, with the more mature markets expected to see a surge in wireless broadband usage as operators look to develop their networks and drive an increase in data traffic levels in 2009.
Some of the most dynamic economies in the Gulf are already seeing a surge in the use of Wi-max and broadband technology, the figures showed.
The new data was unveiled by Abdulaziz Fakhroo, chairman of GSM Arab World, the regional representative body of the wireless industry representing mobile operators in 22 Arab countries and 199 million customers at the GSM 3G Middle East Conference in Dubai.
“The region is still seeing growth rates in mobile subscriber numbers that are higher than the economies of Europe and the Americas, and this lead seems set to widen in 2009.
"With each new generation of broadband technology, the nations of the Arab world are enjoying an increasing range of social and economic benefits that are enabling people to benefit from the good times and be resilient in the more challenging ones,” said Fakhroo.