UAE tops Middle East list for mobile phones

Report shows penetration rate at nearly 200%, also top for fixed line phones.
By Andy Sambidge
Thu 04 Dec 2008 06:02 AM

A new report has revealed that the UAE has the highest penetration rate of mobile phone users in the Middle East.

The figures in the study by the Arab Advisors Group show a penetration rate of 198.6 percent, meaning that in effect, every UAE resident has two mobile phones.

The report ranks 30 fixed services operators and 50 cellular operators in 19 Arab countries.

STC’s Al Jawwal, Egypt’s Mobinil and Vodafone Egypt are the largest Arab cellular operators in terms of subscribers.

In total, cellular subscribers in the Middle East reached 194.5 million with Al Jawwal topping the list with 17.8 million subscribers by the end of the first half of 2008.

As well as having the highest mobile phone penetration rate, the UAE also had the highest fixed line penetration rate, which stood at 29.4 percent.

When calculating the average revenue per user, Qatar’s Qtel recorded the highest figure for fixed services, while Zain Kuwait recorded the highest for mobile services.

Issa Goussous, senior research analyst at Arab Advisors Group said in the report: “Competition in cellular services is a main driver for growth. Several cellular operators recorded high growth rates by H1 2008."

Al Madar Aljadid in Libya recorded the highest growth rate among all cellular operators, which stood at 57.1 percent, followed by UAE’s Du at 53.3 percent, Goussous added.

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