A report by Andersen Consulting on Internet usage in the Middle East and North Africa predicted that 50 percent of residential customers in the region will be accessing the Internet from their homes by 2005, up from a current penetration rate of 2 percent.
The survey was based on interviews with 46 senior executives representing leading telecommunications and Internet service providers in 10 countries. About 77 percent of respondents believed that consumers are looking for more premium services and service bundles, and are willing to pay for them.
Moreover, 78 percent of executives surveyed expected the traditional carriers to remain dominant as the largest suppliers of services in the regional telecommunications market, possibly in conjunction with local or foreign partners.
Additionally, 70 percent of respondents expected to have several broadband platforms in place by 2005, including wireless local loop, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), satellite, and cable TV.
Communications providers serving the MENA market said they expected to benefit through “growth for all” and high profit margins. However, the report warned that a proper regulatory environment must be established for telecom operators so they can support the expected growth. — (Lebanon Invest )