Dallas, Texas (PRWEB) March 15, 2013
Demand for Arabic content increasing as broadband use extends
Telecoms and fixed-line
Developing regulatory systems in the telecoms sector of the Middle East have improved conditions for competitors although in almost all markets the main competitors to fixed-line incumbents are mobile network operators. Cross-border co-operation is becoming increasingly evident with regulators working together to improve services for end users and operators working together to deploy two regional terrestrial cables. Broadband continues to be the focus of incumbent operators as fixed-line voice revenue continues to decline and governments encourage deployment of faster speeds to underpin development of the Internet economy.
Internet and Broadband
Broadband use is increasing rapidly in the wealthier countries of the Arab Middle East due to infrastructure based competition from mobile network operators. This in turn is driving demand for Arabic content. The speeds currently available in the Middle East is opening up access to high bandwidth forms of digital content, such as Video-on-Demand (VoD). Tough competition exists in the region’s flourishing pan-regional satellite TV market with over 400 FTA channels available.
Mobile operations: Recent slow growth is indicative of the maturing Middle East mobile markets. High mobile subscription levels are due to multiple SIM card ownership, a predominantly prepaid user base and lack of mobile number portability in many markets. Perhaps more indicative of the mature market is the emergence of MVNOs which can better cater to specific market segments. In the face of strong competition operators are diversifying into fixed markets or other countries. Other operators have voiced renewed focus on achieving operational efficiencies although the impending spending required to build and operate faster mobile broadband networks will make this target increasingly challenging.
Countries covered are: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen
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Africa - Fixed-line, Internet and Broadband Statistics (tables only) (http://www.reportsnreports.com/reports/60148-africa-fixed-line-telecoms-and-infrastructure-statistics-table.html)
While being the world’s most rapidly growing market for mobile telephony, Africa is also home to some of the fastest growing fixed-line markets in the world. Roughly half of the continent's 54 countries had positive growth in the fixed-line sector in 2011 and at least seven of them saw double digit growth rates, while in some of the other markets fixed lines are rapidly being replaced by mobile phones. However, as lower income groups are being targeted, a price-sensitive market for lower-cost fixed or limited-mobility services has emerged, and a surge in demand for internet access and broadband capabilities is accelerating this fixed-line renaissance.
Problems with vandalism and copper theft have led many Telco’s to substitute traditional fixed lines with fixed-wireless solutions for both voice and data services. For over 50 operators across Africa, CDMA-2000 has been the technology of choice for this market segment, which supports broadband data rates with an upgrade to EV-DO standard. It also supports full mobility, and converged licensing regimes in a growing number of countries are now allowing these operators to move into the mobile sector as well. Foreign investors are scrambling for positions in this very lucrative market as liberalization continues, national Telco’s are being privatized and new operating licenses issued.
Large parts of Africa have gained access to international fiber bandwidth for the first time via submarine cables in recent years. In other parts of the continent, additional fiber systems have brought competition to a previously monopolized market. This has led to massive investments into terrestrial fiber backbone infrastructure to take the new bandwidth to population centers in the interior and across borders into landlocked countries. However, satellite will continue to play a significant role in reaching Africa's extensive rural and remote areas.
Internet and broadband
Africa’s Internet and broadband sector is set to benefit the most from these developments. Wholesale prices for Internet bandwidth have come down by as much as 90% from previous levels based on satellite access, and the cost savings are slowly being passed on to the retail level as well. Broadband is rapidly replacing dial-up as the preferred access method, and this process is already virtually completed in the continent's more developed markets.
Most African countries now have commercial DSL services, but their growth is limited by the poor geographical reach of the fixed-line networks. Improvements in internet access were therefore mostly confined to the capital cities initially. However, the rapid spread of third and fourth generation mobile broadband services is changing this, with the mobile networks bringing internet access to many areas outside of the main cities for the first time. WiMAX and meshed Wi-Fi technology has also gained ground in Africa with well over 100 networks providing wireless broadband access.
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