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Mobile broadband, BlackBerry boost GCC revenues

Popularity of services soar as pre-paid options launched

Mobile broadband, BlackBerry boost GCC revenues
Pre-paid mobile broadband packages are proving to be an earner for GCC mobile operators according to an informa study.

Mobile broadband and BlackBerry services are becoming key money-spinners for GCC operators as they make services available on pre-paid terms, according to a report by informa telecoms and media.

The Middle East Perspectives the Next Phase of Growth report says that across the region, operators are seeing more and more opportunities for the services.

Bahrain's telecoms market is currently busy with Batelco, Zain and Viva offering HSPA-based mobile broadband access, while in Qatar, the popularity of mobile broadband has soared, especially since the introduction of pre-paid mobile broadband access by Q-Tel in December 2009.

Virgin Mobile in Qatar also offers prepaid mobile broadband which can be recharged online via a users credit card, said informa. Zain KSA is also offering pay-per-day mobile broadband access.

BlackBerry services are also set to grow in the GCC, according to the informa report.

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are concentrating on expanding their BlackBerry services. In Bahrain, the introduction of BlackBerry is changing the dynamics of the local handset sales market from having Nokia firmly ahead in handset sales at 75% to 80% market share in 2008 to slipping to 70% now.  .
Several GCC operators are now trying to boost the purchase of BlackBerry services by selling them on a pre-paid basis; these include du, and Q-Tel.

UAE operator Etisalat launched email and IM-only BlackBerry services which are aimed at the youth market.

In Q1 10, a number of mobile operators including STC, Zain KSA, Omantel and Nawras, have introduced HSPA/Wi-Fi routers that allow users to set up mobile hotspots, they hope these will appeal to younger users.

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