By Roger Field
UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia emerge as the region’s highest adopters of telecom services in Arab Advisors’ survey
The UAE has the highest combined mobile, internet and fixed-line penetration in the Arab world, according to the latest Total Country Connectivity Measure (TCCM) from Jordan-based Arab Advisors Group.
The UAE, which maintained the lead position from last year with a score of 329.5%, was followed in second place by Bahrain, which scored 210.4%. Saudi Arabia emerged as the third most connected country with a score of 207.9%, while Qatar slipped to fourth place, down from second place in 2006, largely due to the restatement of its official population at a much higher figure.
The main driver behind the increasing TCCM scores was cellular subscriber growth, while internet services contributed a much lower portion of the increase, according to Jawad Jalal Abbassi, founder and general manager, Arab Advisors Group.
While there was strong growth in internet penetration in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, Abbassi said more effort will be needed from governments and regulators to increases connectivity further. "Enhancing the growth in the Arab broadband Internet markets -a prerequisite for any knowledge-based economy- will require coordinated and intensive policies and initiatives," he said.
In other results, Kuwait maintained fifth place from the previous year, while Libya switched places with Oman taking sixth place, up from seventh in 2006. Jordan stood steady at eighth place, while Algeria moved ahead of Lebanon to ninth place, and Lebanon slipped to tenth place.
Tunisia, Syria and Egypt maintained their eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth place respectively. A fixed wireless boom in Morocco propelled it to fourteenth place ahead of Palestine, which slipped to fifteenth place. Iraq remained in the same rankings at sixteenth place, while Mauritania switched places with Yemen taking the seventeenth place and leaving eighteenth place for Yemen. Sudan ranked last - as in 2006 - in nineteenth place.
Arab Advisors Group, a member of the Arab Jordan Investment Bank Group, calculates the TCCM by adding the household mainlines penetration, cellular penetration, and internet user penetration rates in each country. The results were released on the first day of the Fifth Annual Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference, which was inaugurated in Amman on Monday by Jordanian Minister of ICT Engineer Basem Rousan.