Mideast sees 35m new mobile users
Dubai, September 4, 2007
The Middle East’s mobile market grew fastest in terms of percentage worldwide in the 12 months ending in June, a report said.
The region added roughly 35 million new users between the second quarter of 2006 and second quarter of 2007 - a 47 per cent gain that surpassed the 36 per cent gain in the Americas and Western Europe, UK-based research firm Informa Telecoms & Media CEO Ian Hemming was quoted as saying by Gulf News.
By the end of the year, the number of GSM users in the region will be around 100 million.
But data presented before the GSM 3G Middle East and Gulf conference, showed that in real terms Middle East growth was modest compared to other markets.
Asia-Pacific took on roughly 275 million new GSM customers. Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Americas and Africa each added more than 50 million. In at least two regions, however, the USA/Canada and Eastern Europe, growth slowed and dipped into negative percentages.
In the Middle East and Gulf, Henning said there have been 51 million new subscriptions between 2001 and 2006. That culminated in a 54 per cent gain between 2005 and 2006 alone.
Much of this growth is due to regional telecom operators, who have rolled out new networks across the region as home monopolies have been opened to competition.
In the first quarter of 2007 Kuwait's MTC operated in 19 markets, Egypt's Orascom had subsidiaries in 13 countries, Etisalat had 10 and Qtel nine, according to Informa data.
As a result of acquisitions and new licences, the UAE's Etisalat gained more than three million subscribers in the span of one year. Both Qtel, based in Doha, and MTC gained eight million new users during the same period.