Mobile phone connections in the Middle East rose by eight million in the third quarter of 2012, new research from Ericsson has revealed.
According to the latest Ericsson Mobility Report, the total number of mobile subscriptions in the Middle East reached around 990 million by Q3, with an estimated 600 million more expected to be added by 2018.
Additionally, the Middle East region reported one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world at 103 percent during the third quarter.
Comparatively, China and India reported penetration rates of 81 percent and 72 percent respectivel; while the global average recorded was 91 percent.
The report also showed that the rate of new subscriptions in the region was seven times the birth rate.
"The fact that there were seven times more mobile subscriptions activated than people born, during this period, is a clear sign of the times we live in," said Carlo Alloni, executive vice president and head of operations for Ericsson in the Middle East.
"The Middle East continues to be a high growth market for the mobile telephony industry with some of the highest penetration rates in the world.
"We anticipate that demand for services, such as mobile broadband, will continue to drive growth for the foreseeable future as users seek to connect through multiple devices and, therefore, multiple connections."
The latest Ericsson Mobility Report also revealed that approximately 40 percent of all phones sold around the world in Q3 were smartphones.
Global data traffic doubled between Q3 2011 and Q3 2012, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 50 percent between 2012 and 2018, driven mainly by video.
Total mobile subscriptions are expected to reach 6.6 billion globally by the end of 2012 and 9.3 billion by the end of 2018.
By mid-2012, LTE coverage, the latest mobile broadband service, was provided for an estimated 455 million people globally.
Within five years, more than half the world's population is expected to benefit from to LTE coverage, Ericsson said.
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