2014 a Milestone Year for Middle East Telecom Industry


Telecom IndustryIran is the largest mobile market in terms of subscription

Soon after touching the 200 million mark in mobile subscription, the Middle East region is now peaking to cross the 300 million. The sector as per the experts of the industry is likely to cross the mark by the end of 2014. The region’s telecommunication activities are handled by the Emirates Telecommunication Corporation-Etisalat which was incorporated in the year 1976. This company was an outcome of the partnership deal between local gulf partners and the Britain Company International Aeradio Limited. It was later in the year 1983 when the company was undertaken by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government holding majority share of 60% and floated the rest 40% as public holdings. Etisalat as a company grew by many times between the years 1976 to 1998 where its connection lines went up from 36,000 to 7, 37,000.

By the mid of 2014 the company posted net profits of $ 1.93 billion and was the 12th largest telecommunication company in the world with a client base of over 150 million.

The telecommunication sector in Middle East is growing at a brisk pace exceeding a gain of 20% with Iran being the largest contributor with an addition of more than 12 million users on a yearly basis. However, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan have the slowest growth in the industry which is expected a growth rate of 10.4% for the coming 5 years. However, the Middle East areas are also amongst the high telecom users in the globe when advanced technologies like 3G network and beyond is considered. Saudi Arabia alone includes over 2 million mobile Internet users who are famously termed as broadband users in the industry.

As per a market survey, around 7.5% of the total Middle East mobile users utilize the broadband network. However, in this case Iran lacks behind along with Iraq as these countries are yet to launch 3G broadband services for their users.

Watching the growth of the sector in the region there are many new entrants who are providing their services in regions such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain and cashing in big profits. According to the industry observers; such interference of new companies in the Middle East especially in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain is affecting the status quo of the sector and segmenting the market shares widely.

The well established companies are seriously working in revamping their marketing techniques and bringing newer business plans in order to fight soaring competition coming from new players in the market. As per the data available from market research, the number of subscriptions in the sector is estimated to cross 330 million by the end of 2015. This number crossed the mark of 203 million in the third quarter of 2014. The number of prepaid subscribers is expected to rise to a whopping 89% and the low cost spending clients are expected to see the maximum rise by the finish of year 2015.