Ahead of the ninth annual GSM in the Middle East, Gulf and North Africa conference and exhibition, taking place from 5-6 October 2004, at the JW Marriott Hotel, Dubai, UAE, EMC announced its forecast for Middle East, Gulf and North Africa mobile users and subscribers till 2009.
According to EMC World Cellular Database analysts, the Middle East is one of the few regions in the world where the mobile telecommunications industry is still expanding and experiencing strong growth.
The region is witnessing strong growth. “Mobile subscribers in the Middle East and North Africa grew to 38.8 million at the end of 2003, an increase of 40.1% on 2002. This figure is forecast to rise to 51.9 million by the end of 2004, fuelled in particular by rapid subscriber growth in the North African markets of Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria,” said Mr. John Everington, Senior Analyst Middle East and Africa at EMC.
2004 has so far witnessed the liberalisation of the region's two largest markets, Iran and Saudi Arabia. The introduction of competition in the region's largest remaining monopolies, as well as prospective new GSM operators in Yemen, Jordan and Oman, will lead to a 34.3% growth in subscriber numbers in the region in 2005.
2004 has also seen the launch of the region's first 3G networks, by MTC-Vodafone Bahrain and the UAE's Etisalat, with Q-Tel due to launch 3G in Qatar in late 2005. Despite an initially slow uptake of services, EMC forecasts 38,500 3G subscribers in the region by the end of 2004, with cheaper and more attractive handsets and the further introduction of 3G services spurring subscriber growth.
By December 2005, EMC forecasts total subscribers in the Middle East, Gulf and North Africa will climb to 40.8 million, rising to 52.1 million by the end of 2006. By December 2007 subscribers will reach 61 million, and 66.98 million by the end of 2008. “The Middle East, Gulf and North Africa region is on target for 71 million subscribers by December 2009,” said Everington.
Throughout this period of rapid growth, the key North African countries will continue to be Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia. “While in 2005, Morocco will retain its lead in total subscribers with nearly 9.5 million, compared to Egypt’s 8.9 million, by 2009 Egypt will have 15.9 million subscribers compared to Morocco’s 10.7 million,” said Ms. Fiona Loud, Marketing Manager, IBC Global Conferences. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )