Telecom revenues in MENA to grow 27 pct in 2012
BEIRUT, Nov 29, 2012 (The Daily Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Telecoms sector revenue in the Middle East and North Africa is expected to grow 27 percent between 2012 and 2017, according to global consultancy firm Analysys Mason.
A report dubbed "The Middle East and North Africa telecoms market: trends and forecasts 2012-2017" said revenues will increase from $70.3 billion in 2011 to $96.4 billion in 2017.
"The fastest growth area during the forecast period will be mobile data services, with handset data revenue set to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 17.9 percent between 2012 and 2017," said the report, which was released Wednesday.
But the report shows growth rates in subscriber numbers will continue to decline, as will mobile voice prices.
"The penetration rates of active SIMs in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates already exceed 100 percent of the population, and will surpass 100 percent in Algeria in 2012 and Egypt in 2011," the report added.
Operators in the region will be increasingly pressured to reduce their mobile voice tariffs in the face of over-the-top voice and messaging services, the report added.
"Given these declines, operators will look to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) of their higher-value customer base by encouraging greater mobile data usage," explained Roz Roseboro, principal analyst at Analysys Mason.
"Because the growth in subscriber numbers is slowing, operators will also focus on retaining their customer base, although this will be difficult because the newer, lower-income subscribers tend to be less loyal than the established higher-end ones," he added.
Subscribers in 2G mobile networks will peak in 2015, when subscriptions in 3G and 4G connections will begin to take over, the report predicts.
"Specifically, 3G will be the dominant network technology, reaching 192 million SIMs (43 percent of all SIMs in the region) by 2017," it said.
"Even though 4G connections will grow at a CAGR of 122 percent between 2012 and 2017, 4G will only account for 10 percent of SIMs by 2017, and will not launch in Egypt until 2013 and Morocco in 2014," the report added.
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