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November 29, 2012

Middle East, North Africa to See Jump in Telecom Revenue: Study

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Telecom revenue in the Middle East and North Africa is predicted to increase some 27 percent between 2012 and 2017, Analysys (News - Alert) Mason said in a new report.

That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5 percent, with revenue heading from $70.3 billion in 2011 to $96.4 billion in 2017.

Mobile data is driving a lot of the growth, with handset data revenue predicted to jump 17.9 percent CAGR between 2012 and 2017.

On the other hand, subscriber numbers and mobile voice prices may likely drop, the study said.

Penetration rates of active SIMs are over 100 percent in Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They will go past 100 percent in Algeria this year and over 100 percent in Egypt in 2014.

There are other trends in the sector as well.

“Operators will look to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) of their higher-value customer base by encouraging greater mobile data usage,” Roz Roseboro, an analyst at the firm, said in a press statement. “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.”

Also, 2G connections will peak in 2015, followed by more 3G and 4G connections. In fact, 3G will reach 192 million SIMs by 2017. That represents some 43 percent of all SIMs in the region, the study said. 

In addition, 4G will increase by 122 percent CAGR between 2012 and 2017.

Additionally, broadband connections jumped from 15 million in 2009 to 28 million in 2011. The connections will likely come close to doubling by 2017. Most will be mobile-based, the study adds.

In another recent study, Research and Markets predicts that operators in the Middle East and North Africa will expand mobile and fixed data businesses, TMCnet reported. That comes as the voice market sees a decline.

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