Middle East broadband market: Increasingly youthful populations driving demand

Press Release   •   Mar 25, 2013 10:10 GMT

The Middle East is no different from the rest of the world when it comes to digital media and broadband demand as the young and tech savvy are big consumers of content. Driving this usage pattern is demographics as an estimated 50% of the population is under the age of 30.

Until the focus on broadband by mobile operators strong competition was lacking in many of the region's broadband markets due to non existent or immature network access regulatory or unfavourable economics to support development of a Greenfield operator to engage in extensive infrastructure-based competition. However a number of countries, particularly in the Gulf, did commence building sophisticated broadband access infrastructure. Examples include Qatars national broadband network and the FttH network deployment undertaken by UAEs Etisalat.

Underpinning mobile broadband growth is the need by mobile operators to develop new revenue growth opportunities as mobile voice markets reach maturity. In many instances the downlink speeds advertised by the mobile operators which have deployed HSPA or LTE networks is higher that offered by competing fixed broadband offerings.

The Middle East's growing Internet user base is driving demand for Arabic content, with entertainment content a key area of focus for end users. The lack of Arabic language support by some content providers and the need to translate existing content into Arabic has led to a number of initiatives to create the necessary content. In some instances entrepreneurs have instead targeted content offerings towards Middle Eastern Diaspora communities in Europe or the United States, where affordable broadband allows consumption of high bandwidth content such as streaming Video-on-Demand.

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