Counties covered: Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
This annual report provides an insight into the developing Broadband and Internet markets of the Middle East. Topics detailed in the report include the following:
Triple play models
VoIP services and regulatory aspects
Digital media developments
Regional Internet and broadband market developments and analysis
xDSL, cable modems, Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH), WiFi
Growth in regional broadband penetration and availability (trends, growth patterns, prospects)
Censorship of the Internet in Middle East countries
Internet usage has been growing at an enormous rate over the past few years, particularly in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. Having already grown its Internet market by close to 3,000% in the 2000-2005 period, Iran is expected to remain the fastest growing market in the region in 2006.
Although broadband penetration is still extremely low in the region, by 2006 growth rates were generally on a par with the average growth rate of most developed regions. ADSL is currently the most prevalent form of broadband access. In the UAE, broadband usage is expected to surpass the number of dial-up Internet users by end-2007. In Bahrain, Batelco announced in early 2006 that it aimed to offer broadband to every household in the country by 2008. Although broadband penetration is very low in Jordan, growth has been rapid, causing a steady decline in dial-up usage. Broadband penetration is highest in Israel.
Triple play services have been launched in Israel, and Jordan is beginning to see moves towards convergence, particularly in VoIP. In the Bahrain market several new competitors aim to deliver broadband Internet plus voice services via VoIP. Convergence developments are starting to pick up in Kuwait, with satellite TV operators providing broadband Internet services and bundling them with TV subscriptions. However, VoIP services are prohibited.