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The telecoms sector in the United Arab Emirates has had to quickly adapt to the changes and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
[July 20, 2020]

The telecoms sector in the United Arab Emirates has had to quickly adapt to the changes and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Stdney, July 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Just released, this edition of Paul Budde Communication’s focus report on the United Arab Emirates outlines the major developments and key aspects in the telecoms markets.

Read the full report:

The UAE has a strong mobile market which is dominated by the two major operators of Etisalat and Du. Both operators are majority owned by the government. Interestingly, the COVID-19 outbreak has created a change in some mobile consumer behaviour. Du reported, for example, that some users had switched to pre-paid services in order to manage personal budgets – creating a decline in the more lucrative post-paid sector.

Etisalat and du have deployed sophisticated HSPA+ and LTE networks that cover most of the population, underpinning growth opportunities centred on mobile broadband, content and applications. Both Etisalat and Du have launched 5G networks and 2G spectrum is expected to be re-purposed for 5G use by the end of 2022. The remaining 2G networks will be shut-down at that point.

The well-established fibre-boadband network in the UAE is providing the operators with opportunities to grow new services and offerings such as triple-play.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • The UAE boasts mobile penetration levels that are among the worlds’ highest.
  • The growing availability of low cost smart phones has driven mobile broadband penetration up sharply in the last couple of years.
  • Both Etisalat and du are demonstrating keen interest in developing 5G technology and are strongly supported by the TRA which has allocated spectrum bands.
  • Recently the TRA was encouraging affordable roaming rates within GCC countries.
  • This report includes assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Companies mentioned in this report include:
Etisalat; du; Thuraya; Yahsat; Virgin Mobile; Swyp.

Read the full report:

Nicolas Bombourg

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+44 207 097 1241

Oceania Office
+61 280 767 665

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