Middle East sees big demand for LTE
Middle East region set to take a lead over many other regions in terms of LTE deployment
The Middle East is set to take a lead in LTE deployment owing to huge demand for mobile broadband, according to wireless technology experts at Huawei and Juniper Networks.
Zheng Xiang, vice president for Middle East, Huawei, said that huge demand for mobile data is driving growth of mobile broadband, and added that LTE is the "ideal solution" to address the demand.
"In the Middle East market, the use of data services and demand for bandwidth are exploding among subscribers, driven primarily by smart phones," Zheng said.
"New video and internet based devices attract immense traffic to networks. Huawei forecasts the number of mobile broadband subscribers to increase tenfold, reaching three billion in the next five years."
To cope with the challenge of this surge in data, operators need to boost their network capacities, increase throughput and improve the overall customer experience, Zheng added.
"Based on market demand and technical perspectives, LTE is the ideal solution to these challenges," he said.
"We see our business momentum in the Middle East continuing in 2010 and expect year-on-year revenue growth of 20% driven by increased deployments of mobile and fixed broadband networks, further take-up of customised smart devices, and higher demand for professional managed services."
Meanwhile, Ravi Mali, regional director, service provider business, Juniper Networks Middle East and Africa, said that certain Gulf countries were "definitely ahead" of some of their European counterparts in terms of LTE development.
"In a couple of Gulf countries I would say the way they are planning the roadmap is definitely ahead of how you could plan the same thing in Europe. The reason for that is the geography," he said. "The size of the countries is not as big so the capex is less and the return is quicker. On the opex side, it makes more sense for them to take the latest technology and deploy it."
He added that some countries that have not yet issued 3G licences "might go straight to LTE".
"It doesn't make sense to do intermediary stuff. If they haven't rolled out 3G yet, why would they now?" he said.