UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are the Arab World’s highest adopters of telecommunication services

3 Jun, 2008

# Press Release via Arab Adivisors Group

The United Arab Emirates is the most connected country in the Arab World according to the Arab Advisors Group’s annually released Total Country Connectivity Measure (TCCM). The Arab Advisors Group, a member of the Arab Jordan Investment Bank Group, calculates the TCCM by adding the household mainlines penetration, cellular penetration, and Internet users’ penetration rates in each country. These results were released on the first day of the Fifth Annual Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference, which was inaugurated in Amman by Jordanian Minister of ICT Engineer Basem Rousan.

“Convergence presents us with a great opportunity that the Media and Telecom business can greatly benefit from, as new sources of revenue are emerging” said Eng. Basem Rousan, the Minister of Information and Communications Technology. He added: “The government is committed to providing a flexible legislative and regulatory environment that nurtures competitiveness and reflects the growing convergence in the ICT sector”. Eng. Rousan also congratulated the Arab Advisors Group on “the growing success of this leading event” and indicated “Jordan’s standing as a key player in the regional ICT sector, a role that is further demonstrated by hosting the 12th session of the Arab Council of ICT Ministers in Amman on the heels of the Media and Telecom convergence conference”.

UAE’s TCCM score of 329.5% availed the country the first rank in the Arab World. Bahrain followed at 210.4%, followed by Saudi Arabia (207.9%), Qatar (193.1%), Kuwait (164.7%), Libya (162.0%), Oman (153.7%), Jordan (133.9%), Algeria (130.7%), Lebanon (124.6%), , Tunisia (122.7%), Syria (122.5%), Egypt (111.6%), Morocco (106.6%), Palestine (90.5%), Iraq (77.2%), Mauritania (54.5%), Yemen (47.2%) and Sudan (28.9%).

Comparing the end of 2007 and end of 2006 ranking reveals the following. The UAE kept its “number one” spot, while Bahrain moved into 2nd place (up from 3rd in 2006). Saudi Arabia moved up to 3rd place in 2007 up from 4th place in 2006. Qatar slipped to 4th place down from 2nd place in 2006 (largely due to the restatement of official population figures at a much higher figure which was the case in Bahrain as well). Kuwait maintained its 5th place, while Libya switched places with Oman taking the 6th place (up from 7th in 2006). Jordan stood steady at 8th place, while Algeria moved ahead of Lebanon to the 9th place while Lebanon slipped to 10th place. Tunisia, Syria and Egypt maintained their 11th, 12th, and 13th places respectively. Fixed wireless boom in Morocco propelled it to 14th place ahead of Palestine which slipped t0 15th place. Iraq remained in the same rankings at the 16th place, while Mauritania switched places with Yemen taking the 17th place and leaving the 18th place for Yemen. Sudan ranked last –as in 2006- in the 19th place.

The TCCM shows the extent of connectivity of individuals in a certain country whether via fixed lines, cellular lines and/or Internet. Off course, there will be an overlap since many individuals will be using these three communications technologies at the same time. However, the measure still yields an accurate and informative picture on the level of ICT services penetration in each country: For example, if a country has a TCCM measure of 60%, this means that at least 40% of the population are not users of any of the three services constituting the measure. While a TCCM score of more than 100% is very positive, it nonetheless, does not mean that all the population uses the services due to overlap of usage.

“As usual, the main driver in the increasing TCCM scores by end of 2007 in the Arab World was cellular subscribers growth with Internet services contributing a much lower portion of the increase. Still there were some bright spots such as the growth in broadband in Saudi Arabia and fixed wireless services in Morocco that contributed greatly to an enhanced TCCM score of the two countries” Commented Arab Advisors Group’s Founder and General Manager Jawad Jalal Abbassi.

“Enhancing the growth in the Arab broadband Internet markets –a prerequisite for any knowledge-based economy- will require coordinated and intensive policies and initiatives. This fifth annual media and telecoms convergence conference is a chance for operators, vendors and regulators to further enhance the growth in the regional markets for the benefit of all stakeholders (consumers and companies alike). The continued success of this regional event in Amman is a particular source of pride to us at Arab Advisors Group.” Mr. Abbassi added.

The Zain Group is the Main Sponsor of the Arab Advisors’ Fifth Annual Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference 2008. Zain (formerly known as MTC) is the pioneer of mobile telecommunications in the Middle East and now a major player on the African continent. Today, the Zain Group is a leading wireless services provider and the 4th largest telecommunications company in the world in terms of geographic presence with a footprint in 7 Middle Eastern and 14 sub-Saharan countries, providing mobile voice and data services to over 45.7 million active individual and business customers. The company’s mobile telecommunications operations in Ghana will begin later in 2008.

The annual conference also received the support and sponsorship from Jawwal (Palestine), ESKADENIA Software (Jordan), GLOBITEL (Jordan), QUALCOMM, SIGNAL Communications – PRIMUSTEL (Jordan), Ericsson, Orange (Jordan), Greenpacket Networks (Bahrain) and Optimiza.

Conference exhibitors and partners include Waseela, Friendi, Nokia, Hits Telecom, Telecom Malaysia, Cyberia, Elite, DVV Media, Trade Arabia, ITP, Spot On PR, Mena FN, Telecom Review, ISI Emerging Markets, Media ME and int@j

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