With Internet traffic in the Middle East growing exponentially, a local expert said Jordanian mobile and Internet service providers should anticipate increasing pressure on their networks as the number of users rises. “In the next few years, Jordan will be ahead of other countries in the region in terms of Internet traffic,” Jawad Abbassi, founder and general manager of Arab Advisers Group, told The Jordan Times. “Mobile operators in Jordan and Internet service providers need to be ready to deal with rocketing pressure on their networks caused by a sharp increase in consuming data, mainly videos and pictures.”
Abbassi was commenting on a recently released report by Cisco Systems, Inc., which predicted that average Internet traffic in the Middle East and Africa in 2015 would be equivalent to 4,500,000 people streaming Internet HD video simultaneously. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) forecast, Internet traffic in the Middle East and Africa area will grow nine-fold from 2010 to 2015 — a compound annual growth rate of 56 percent.
“Middle Eastern and African Internet traffic in 2015 will be equivalent to 98 times the volume of the entire Middle Eastern and African Internet in 2005,” the report said. Abbassi said that in Jordan, Internet traffic was likely to increase as more Jordanians become smartphone users, predicting that smartphone penetration, currently at about 43 percent, would reach 50 percent by the end of the year. “There is strong competition among mobile operators, especially after the launch of Third Generation (3G) services,” he said. Earlier this week, Umniah became the third mobile operator in Jordan to launch 3G services, after Orange Jordan in 2010 and Zain in 2011. “Prices of 3G, which provides very fast Internet access, will drop in light of the competition,” Abbassi stated.
The increase in numbers of Jordanians using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will increase the volume of traffic on the Internet, which eventually places pressure on networks, he said. Internet penetration in Jordan reached 53 percent by the end of the first quarter of 2012, while the ratio of Internet subscriptions to the population stood at 11 percent at the end of March, according to figures posted on the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission’s website.