Rami Olwan

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UAE Mobile Subscription Reaches 10 million

The UAE became one of the highest telecom penetration markets in the world as the mobile subscribers in the country reached 10 million, a figure that has doubled in the past four years, the telecom regulator said.

The number represents an unprecedented mobile penetration rate of over 200 per cent, placing the country as one of the highest penetration markets in the world, the regulator said. Results from the 2005 census showed that the population was 4.1 million and next census will be held in April next year.

“These results confirm the decision of the UAE to introduce competition in the market has been beneficial,” Mohammed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General of Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, or TRA, said.

Increase in mobile penetration rates is a trend that is also seen in the Middle East market recently despite the economic crisis. The region represents one of the world’s fastest growing mobile subscription markets with a 47 per cent year-over-year increase in 2008.

The increase in subscription reflects TRA’s efforts to foster growth and development of the sector, Al Ghanim said, adding: “This achievement was made possible through the development of a regulatory framework that aims at creating sustainable, vibrant and fair completion.”

He also emphasised that the framework has been instrumental in ensuring the emergence of more attractive pricing offers and the introduction of innovative new services within the market. It has also created an environment conducive to investment, as evidenced by the significant levels of infrastructure investment undertaken by both the telecom operators Etisalat and du in recent years.

Mobile penetration in Arab countries reached 56 per cent at the end of 2008; figures across Gulf Cooperation Council countries remain much higher as the nature of the market is subject to maturity and introduction of new technologies. It is expected that the Middle East and North Africa telecommunications market is set to continue to grow in 2010, albeit at a slower pace while the telecom landscape is becoming more competitive.



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