UAE ranks first amongst Arab Internet markets
United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Internet accounts are forecasted to grow from 251,000 in 2001 to over 600,000 accounts by 2006, a penetration rate of 14.4 percent, predicts a newly released report from the Arab Advisors Group.
The Internet revenues for yearend 2001 were close to $73 million, contributing close to 10 percent of the total revenues of Etisalat, the UAE’s monopoly Internet and Datacomm provider. The UAE Internet market is projected to grow substantially to reach more than $137 million in year 2006, the report continued.
The datacomm market contributed a bigger share of the operator’s total revenue in 2000 whereby it generated more than $95 million that year, 5.1 percent of Etisalat’s total revenues compared to the Internet’s contribution of 2.8 percent.
“The UAE enjoys the highest Internet penetration in the Arab world. Of course, with close to 80 percent of the country’s population made up of expatriates, most of these users are not Arabs. With an envied position as the region’s technology and Information Technology (IT) trading hub, the UAE has all the pillars for Internet growth in the country,” wrote Hala Baqain, Arab Advisors Group’s analyst in the report.
According to the report, the datacomm market in the UAE encompasses a wide array of services. Datacomm services are Etisalat’s third major revenue stream following the fixed and mobile services. The UAE is amongst the leading countries in the Arab World regarding the adoption of datacomm services. As much as the datacomm market in the country is eye-catching it remains closed to all but Etisalat.
“The Arab Advisors Group believes that the liberalization of the telecom and datacomm sector in the UAE has strong backing amongst circles in the ruling families in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Nonetheless, a blue print for liberalization does not yet exist which could mean a haphazard approach in liberalization that would yield less than optimal results.” Baqain commented. “Our projections assume some level of liberalization in the country’s datacomm and Internet segments in the late 2002-early 2003 time frame”, she added. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)