Market Research Logo

Middle East - Fixed Broadband Market

Fixed broadband development making great strides in some Middle Eastern markets

Broadband infrastructure is becoming increasingly important in the Middle East as the large and increasingly tech savvy populations place more and more demand on existing infrastructure. In order to meet this demand, many governments in the region are investing heavily in broadband infrastructure including fibre-optic rollouts and improved mobile broadband networks. International and regional broadband connectivity are also key considerations for the future.

Currently the Middle East offers a varied picture when it comes to fixed broadband infrastructure with some markets moving ahead in terms of deployment and others lagging behind due to economic, civil unrest or political inhibitors. The UAE, for example, has one of the most advanced broadband markets at both a regional and global level where as Yemen, for comparison purposes, has seen a slow development of its telecoms market due its weak economic position at both a regional and global level, along with years of political unrest and civil fighting. Due to the instability of fixed telecoms infrastructure in Yemen there has been a surge in satellite broadband use.

Many countries in the Middle East are now transferring telecoms infrastructure spending towards fibre-optic deployment rather than new DSL infrastructure. The UAE boasts the world’s highest penetration of Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH), ahead even of South Korea and Hong Kong. The country has been leading the Global FttH Ranking since 2012 and in early 2015 the estimated FttH household penetration had reached nearly 70%.

In Qatar attention has also turned away from developing DSL networks as the operators and government focus their efforts on fibre network build-outs. This is in-line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 which was developed in 2008 and sees, in part, the country invest in its fibre infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia’s fixed broadband market is experiencing a major technology shift from ADSL to fibre as well, with STC expanding FttH coverage to most urban centres, and another two companies – Go Telecom and Mobily – also offering FttH services.

Broadband services are widely available in Turkey, with competition predominantly infrastructure based. ADSL continues to represent the majority of fixed broadband subscriptions due to the reach of Turk Telekom’s copper network. ADSL will eventually lose its dominance due to the rapid growth in fibre subscriptions however.

Israel has a very high household internet penetration rate, almost all of which are broadband connections. There are three competing broadband platforms – the DSL and fibre network of fixed-line incumbent Bezeq, the HFC network of HOT, and the mobile broadband products offered by the mobile operators.

Increased Internet speeds and improved broadband capacity has fuelled growth for Lebanon’s ICT sector. The government has made concerted efforts to introduce lower prices and offer higher speeds for broadband as well as reduce fixed and mobile telephone tariffs.

Prior to the current civil conflict in Syria, the country was making progress and had installed an extensive fixed-line infrastructure in terms of the number of lines. STE had also deployed equipment to support the delivery of broadband services and increased transmission capacity to provide the requisite bandwidth. While these were positive signs - the current situation in Syria means its telecommunications infrastructure is very vulnerable.

Iraq is also struggling due to the civil unrest and while attempts have also been made to deploy fibre optic infrastructure across Iraq; its penetration is still very low and expensive. The full extent of the damage to these networks by the current civil war is as yet unknown.

Jordan is also developing its fibre network and has been working towards a National Broadband Network since 2003. At times development has halted due to a lack of funds and in 2014 around 35% of the planned network had been deployed.

There has been a recent and renewed push towards improving fixed broadband infrastructure - particularly fibre-based networks in Oman. As part of it National Broadband Strategy, Oman Broadband Company (OBC) has enabled access to fibre networks for around 70,000 residential and commercial businesses around Muscat. By 2040 it hopes to have all homes and businesses connected to its national broadband infrastructure.

While mobile is booming in Kuwait; the same cannot be said for broadband and fibre deployment. Fixed broadband penetration is low, blamed on underinvestment in infrastructure and the lack of a national broadband policy. The absence of an independent regulator in particular is thought to be an inhibitor to attracting fixed broadband investment in Kuwait. However with parliament approving plans towards a regulator in 2015, this matter may be resolved in near the future.

Despite the relatively low penetration of fixed broadband in Iran; there are moves underway to improve broadband access, with the FttX operator Iranian-Net currently deploying a fibre network which aims to have 8 million customers by 2020.

Bahrain has always been at the forefront of Internet penetration in the Middle East region and since the introduction of greater competition, and the consequent fall in prices, broadband subscriber numbers have grown rapidly.

Overall the progress of fixed broadband development in many parts of the Middle East is very positive. The region is well serviced by international and regional submarine cables. The launch of the Tamares Telecom submarine network in 2012 more than doubled total capacity. In January 2014, capacity again surged and almost redoubled with the launch of the Middle East North Africa (MENA) Cable System. The Bay of Bengal Gateway (BBG) and the SEA-ME-WE-5, with a capacity of 24Tb/s, which is due to become operational in 2016 will increase this capacity even further.

Key developments:

Since 2010, fibre broadband has become the fastest growing technology in the UAE.
Fixed home Internet access in Yemen is expensive with consumers required to purchase a router and pay for on-going monthly bundles, which can be cost prohibitive. For this reason many citizens choose to utilize Internet cafes instead.
Qatar is considered to be one of the most highly connected markets in the Middle East and offers significant opportunity with high numbers of mobile and broadband subscribers combined with wealth due to its large natural gas reserves.
Strong fixed broadband growth is expected in Turkey as Turk Telekom focuses on growing broadband revenue to offset expected falling Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) voice revenue due to continuing mobile substitution and competition entering the retail fixed-line voice market.
Israel’s fixed line sector has recently undergone an important reform with the government opening up the market to wholesale rental.
Lebanon was an early investor in fibre-optic technology with an extensive fibre network already laid throughout the country.
Syria has a tightly controlled market where the domestic and international fixed-line market remains under the strict monopoly of the government-owned Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE). STE is currently the sole provider of infrastructure and is responsible for all types of telecommunications, including Internet bandwidth.
Broadband penetration is growing strongly in Saudi Arabia. Broadband is available via ADSL, fibre, and wireless.
In Jordan the national broadband network is currently being built.
Iraq has traditionally supported the deployment of fibre infrastructure.
Oman has a number of broadband alternatives including ADSL, Fibre, WiFi, WiMAX and mobile broadband platforms.
The deployment of fibre networks throughout Kuwait has been steady but slow. The government recognises that the existing copper based infrastructure will not keep up with the data demands of the future.
Broadband penetration is improving in Iran, given the growing number of competing ISPs, made possible through a licensing scheme.
The TRA is overseeing the build-out of a national broadband fibre-optic network in Bahrain which it hopes that 80% of the population will have access to by 2018.

Companies mentioned in this report

Etisalat, du; TeleYemen, Public Telecommunications Corporation (PTC); Ooredoo Qatar, Vodafone Qatar, Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN); STC, Go Telecom, Mobily; Turk Telekom, Superonline, Superonline, Vodafone Turkey; Bezeq, HOT Telecom, 013 NetVision, 012 Smile Telecom, Xfone 018; Ogero Telecom, Cable One, Cedarcom, GlobalCom Data Services (GDS), Pesco Telecom, Sodetel, IDM/Cyberia, TerraNet, Lebanese Broadband Stakeholders Group (LBSG); STE; ITPC, URUKLINK, Newroz,IQ Networks; Orange Jordan; Omantel, Oman Broadband Company (OBC); Kuwait Ministry of Communications (MoC), Qualitynet, Zajil KEMS, FASTtelco, Gulfnet; Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI), Iranian-net; 2Connect, Batelco, Etisalcom, Kalaam Telecoms, Lightspeed, Mena Telecoms, Nuetel Communications, Rapid Telecoms, Zain Bahrain.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • REGION OVERVIEW
    • FTTP PENETRATION LEVELS OF MORE THAN 50% IN ARAB OIL STATES
      • Table Arab States - Regional market share of fixed broadband subscribers - 2014
  • BAHRAIN
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Bahrain - Historic - Internet users and penetration estimates - 2004
      • Table Bahrain - Internet users and penetration estimates - 2015
      • Table Bahrain - Broadband subscribers - 2015
    • BROADBAND SUBSCRIBER FORECASTS
      • higher growth
        • Table Bahrain - Forecast broadband subscribers - higher market growth scenario - 2016; 2019; 2024
      • lower growth
        • Table Bahrain - Forecast broadband subscribers - lower market growth scenario - 2016; 2019; 2024
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
      • National Broadband Network (NBN)
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
      • iBurst
  • IRAN
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Censorship
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Iran - Internet users and penetration estimates - 1996 - 2015
      • Table Iran - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2000 - 2015
      • Table Iran - Household PC penetration - 2002 - 2015
    • FORECASTS - BROADBAND SUBSCRIBERS
      • Table Iran - Forecast fixed broadband subscribers - higher growth scenario - 2015, 2019; 2024
      • Table Iran - Forecast fixed broadband subscribers - lower growth scenario - 2015, 2019; 2024
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
        • Table Irancell WiMAX subscribers - 2012 - Mid 2014
    • COMPETITION ISSUES
      • ISP market
  • IRAQ
    • OVERVIEW
      • Internet statistics
        • Table Iraq - Internet user penetration and estimates - 2001 - 2015
        • Table Iraq - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2006 - 2015
        • Table Iraq - International Internet bandwidth - 2005 - 2013
        • Table Iraq - Household PC penetration - 2008 - 2015
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
    • SATELLITE BROADBAND
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
  • ISRAEL
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Israel - Internet users and penetration - 1997 - 2015
      • Table Israel - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2015
      • Table Israel - Bezeq ADSL subscribers and ARPU- 2005 - 2014
      • Table Israel - Average broadband speed per Bezeq customer - 2007 - 2014
      • Table Israel - PC penetration - 2002 - 2014
      • Table Israel - International internet bandwidth - 2005 - 2014
  • JORDAN
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Jordan - Internet users and penetration rate - 1995 - 2015
      • Table Jordan - Internet subscribers and penetration rate - 1999 - 2015
      • Table Jordan - Internet subscribers by access method - 2009 -2014
    • FORECASTS - BROADBAND SUBSCRIBERS
      • higher growth
        • Table Jordan - Forecast broadband subscribers - higher market growth scenario - 2016; 2018; 2022
      • lower growth
        • Table Jordan - Forecast broadband subscribers - lower market growth scenario - 2016; 2018; 2022
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
      • Table Jordan - DSL subscribers - 2014
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
    • COMPETITION ISSUES
      • ISP market
  • KUWAIT
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Kuwait - Internet users and penetration - 1995 - 2015
      • Table Kuwait - Fixed Broadband subscribers - 2015
      • Table Kuwait - Household PC penetration - 2002 - 2015
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
  • LEBANON
    • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Lebanon - Internet user and penetration estimates - 1995 - 2015
      • Table Lebanon - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2002 - 2015
      • Table Lebanon - Household PC penetration - 2002 - 2015
      • Table Lebanon - International Internet bandwidth - 2003 - 2013
    • BROADBAND SUBSCRIBER FORECASTS
      • higher growth
        • Table Lebanon - Forecast fixed broadband subscribers - higher growth scenario - 2019; 2024
      • lower growth
        • Table Lebanon - Forecast fixed broadband subscribers - lower growth scenario - 2019; 2024
    • COMPETITION ISSUES
      • Data service providers
      • ISP market
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
      • Internet via satellite (Ku band services)
  • OMAN
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • Internet and broadband statistics
        • Table Oman - Internet users and penetration - 1998 - 2015
        • Table Oman - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2004 - 2015
        • Table Omantel Fixed Internet ARPU - 2008 - 2014
        • Table Ooredoo Oman fixed broadband subscribers - 2010 - 2013
        • Table Oman - International Internet bandwidth - 2012 - 2014
    • BROADBAND SUBSCRIBER FORECASTS
      • higher growth
        • Table Oman - Forecast broadband subscribers - higher growth scenario - 2015, 2018; 2023
      • lower growth
        • Table Oman - Forecast broadband subscribers - lower growth scenario - 2015, 2018; 2023
    • ASYMMETRIC DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (ADSL)
    • FIBRE TO THE HOME (FTTH)
    • WIRELESS BROADBAND
      • WiFi
      • WiMAX
  • QATAR
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • Market analysis
      • Broadband statistics
        • Table Qatar - Internet users and penetration - 1995 - 2015
        • Table Qatar - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2002 - 2015
        • Table Qatar - Household PC penetration - 2007 - 2015
        • Table Qatar - International Internet bandwidth - 2003 - 2014
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
      • Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN)
      • Vodafone Qatar
      • Ooredoo
  • SAUDI ARABIA
    • OVERVIEW
      • Censorship
      • Broadband statistics
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Historic - fixed internet users and user penetration - 2004
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Fixed internet users and user penetration - 2005 - 2015
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Fixed broadband subscriptions - technologies and penetration - 2008 - 2015
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Fixed and mobile broadband - total and market share - 2002 - 2015
        • Table Saudi Arabia - household PC penetration - 2002 - 2015
    • BROADBAND FORECASTS
      • higher growth
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Forecast mobile broadband subscriptions - higher growth scenario - 2015, 2020; 2025
      • lower growth
        • Table Saudi Arabia - Forecast mobile broadband subscriptions - lower growth scenario - 2015, 2020; 2025
    • ASYMMETRICAL DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (ADSL)
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
    • FIXED-WIRELESS BROADBAND
      • WiFi
      • WiMAX
  • SYRIA
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • ISP market
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Syria - Fixed Internet subscriptions and households with internet access - 2005 - 2013
      • Table Syria - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2004 - 2013
      • Table Syria - International Internet bandwidth - 2004 - 2014
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
  • TURKEY
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Turkey - Broadband subscribers and penetration - 2009 - Q2 2015
      • Table Turkey - Broadband subscribers by access technology - 2009 - Q2 2015
      • Table Turkey - ISP market share - June 2013; June 2015
      • Table Turkey - Average monthly data usage per Turk Telekom broadband subscriber - 2010 - mid 2014
      • Table Turkey - International Internet Bandwidth - 2003 - 2014
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
      • Table Turkey - Turk Telekom Fixed broadband ARPU - 2007 - 2014
    • CABLE MODEMS
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-CABINET (FTTC) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
      • Table Turkey - Turk Telekom fibre subscribers - 2013; 2014
      • Table Turkey - Superonline FttX homes passed and subscribers - 2011 - 2014
  • UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • MARKET ANALYSIS
      • Dubai Internet City (DIC)
      • Internet cafés
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table UAE - Internet users and penetration - 1995 - 2015
      • Table UAE - fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2001 - 2015
      • Table UAE - Etisalat fixed broadband subscribers - 2010 - 2014
      • Table UAE - international internet bandwidth - 2005 - 2013
      • Broadband forecasts
        • Table UAE - Forecast broadband subscribers - higher growth scenario - 2015, 2020; 2025
        • Table UAE - Forecast broadband subscribers - lower growth scenario - 2015, 2020; 2025
    • FIBRE-TO-THE-PREMISES (FTTP) AND FIBRE-TO-THE-HOME (FTTH)
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • FIXED WIRELESS (WIFI,WIMAX)
    • INTERNET VIA SATELLITE
  • YEMEN
    • INTRODUCTION AND STATISTICAL OVERVIEW
      • MARKET ANALYSIS
    • BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Yemen - Internet user and penetration estimates - 1997 - 2015
      • Table Yemen - Households with Internet access - 2004 - 2015
      • Table Yemen - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2015
      • Table Yemen - Household PC penetration - 2005 - 2015
      • Table Yemen - International Internet bandwidth - 2005 - 2014
    • DIGITAL SUBSCRIBER LINE (DSL) NETWORKS
    • OTHER FIXED BROADBAND SERVICES
      • Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook

Share this report