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Middle Eastern Digital Media, Broadband and Internet Markets

This Middle East market report covers the digital media, broadband and Internet markets in each of the following countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, UAE and Yemen. Researcher:- Tine LewisCurrent publication date:- August 2010 (9th Edition)Next publication date:- August 2011


The broadband market in the Middle East is starting to moveInternet and broadband penetration rates remain low in many countries of the Middle East, access speeds are often relatively slow and tariffs are relatively high compared with other regions in the world but the region is making a strong push towards higher broadband penetration. The young population will be a driver for growth as they grow up with Internet use as the norm. In addition liberalisation and increased competition are producing a greater variety of services and mediums.

While broadband growth has taken off in the small, oil-rich and developed countries of the Gulf, wide income disparities across the Arab Middle East region as a whole are echoed by wide disparities in Internet and broadband penetration rates. Computer penetration levels are generally low. Qatar, Bahrain and UAE all have high household broadband penetration, particularly amongst nationals. The largest country in the region, Saudi Arabia, has low broadband penetration but it is rising quickly.

ADSL is the prevailing broadband Internet technology in the region. Only in Israel does cable have a significant market share. Services are provided by HOT Cable Systems Media, which is subject to the same broadband universal service obligations as is DSL network operator Bezeq. This has resulted in broadband being available to 99% of all households. Much is being promised by WiMAX across the Middle East region. In Bahrain services from Zain Bahrain and Mena Telecom, both with country-wide networks, have rapidly gained over 30% market share. It is also having a significant impact in Saudi Arabia and Jordan. All the GCC, Israeli and Turkish operators offer HSPA mobile broadband services. Saudi Arabia’s second mobile operator, Mobily, has claimed a 70% share of the country’s broadband market.

Fibre to the Home (FttH) is likely to revolutionise the broadband market in the most advanced countries. Both Israel and the UAE will have nationwide fibre networks in the next two years.

One of the reasons for slow Internet and broadband subscriber growth in Arab Middle East countries has been a lack of sufficient content in Arabic for users to need a high-speed broadband connection in their daily lives. There has been too much emphasis on hardware and the latest must-have gizmo and not enough on creativity. This is beginning to change with the increasing digital content produced by the flourishing Direct-to-Home (DTH) satellite TV sector, including entertainment, educational programming, news and sports. At least 60-70% of homes across the Middle East have access to multi-channel TV, much of it free to air DTH satellite. Around 70% of the 400+ channels are privately owned. A further impetus was gained from the sale of Jordan’s Maktoob to Yahoo. This immediately prompted venture capital funds to take a greater interest in the sector. Advertising provides only a very small revenue for digital media companies. The UAE’s advertisers allot a 3.5% share of their budgets to online advertising compared to a regional average of 1%.

Market HighlightsIsrael

Israel has one of the highest household broadband penetration rates in the world. Market competition is fierce, both between cable and DSL infrastructures and between ISPs. Competition is also fierce between Bezeq’s satellite TV subsidiary YES and cable TV operator HOT. Israel’s very high broadband penetration rate provides great potential for triple play and digital media market developments and competitors are manoeuvring for position.

Bezeq commercially launched an NGN in September 2009. It had 374,000 subscribers connected to the network at end-2009 and 580,000 by early May 2010 (around 25% of Israeli households). Bezeq plans to make the NGN available to approximately 50% of Israeli households by end-2010 and 90% of households by end-2012. The network is ‘fibre to the curb’ and allows for an up to 50MB bandwidth offering.

Jordan

Licensed WiMAX operators are beginning to make inroads into the Jordanian broadband market, with over 17% market share of the small broadband market by late 2009. Jordan is an important base for regional digital media and Internet companies and seems to be particularly successful in breeding viable start-up companies. Whilst Dubai is home to the regional HQs of more established companies, Jordan’s cheaper operational costs, relatively open economy and pool of talent favour younger companies. The best known of these is the Maktoob Group. In August 2009, the Maktob.com portal, with its news, financial information and social networking services, was bought by Yahoo!, at a purchase price variously reported as being between US$75 and US$85 million. Services have been co-branded as ‘Yahoo! Maktoob’.

Saudi Arabia

The broadband market has been slow to grow in Saudi Arabia. Penetration rates for both fixed lines and ADSL are very low for the level of development, only partly due to large household sizes. This has provided fertile ground for the development of mobile and wireless broadband services, with alternative operator Mobily claiming to have the busiest HSPA network in the world.

Whilst few Middle East media companies are based in Saudi Arabia, most of the larger ones are Saudi owned, including the most watched FTA channel MBC, two out of the three regional satellite pay TV operators, and TV and digital media company Rotana.

UAE

Incumbent UAE telco Etisalat and alternative operator du are vying to offer faster broadband packages over a mixture of ADSL, mobile broadband and FttH in a market that already has one of the highest broadband penetration rates in the Middle East. Etisalat’s FttH project, known as ‘eLite’, is being completed in phases. The first batch of Abu Dhabi subscribers received last mile FttH access in January 2008. By end-2009 Etisalat claimed to have completed 60% of the network. It expected to make Abu Dhabi “the first capital city in the world with 100% fibre deployment” by 2010 and at end-2009 had completed the roll-out for 85% of Abu Dhabi households. Completion of the entire national network is expected by 2011 at a total cost of AED5 billion.

Etisalat is building the network as a commercial decision, to enable its customers “to enjoy multiple high bandwidth applications such as IPTV and online gaming in an integrated single interface for landline, Internet and television-based services, providing a truly converged digital home experience”.

UAE governments, at both federal and emirate level, have been very interventionist, with programs to encourage computer and Internet use. Government policy has also included encouragement for media, IT and Internet related businesses and Dubai has become a regional centre for the industry. Around 25% of the region’s large DTH satellite TV industry is headquartered in the UAE.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

1. Bahrain
1.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Bahrain
1.1.1 Broadband statistics
1.2 ADSL
1.3 Wireless broadband
1.3.1 WiMAX
1.3.2 Internet via satellite
1.3.3 WiFi
1.4 VoIP
1.5 Digital economy / digital media
1.5.1 Services
1.6 Digital broadcasting
1.6.1 Satellite TV
2. Iran
2.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Iran
2.1.1 Censorship
2.1.2 Broadband and Internet statistics
2.1.3 ISP market
2.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
2.3 ADSL
2.4 Wireless (fixed) broadband
2.4.1 WiMAX
2.4.2 Internet via satellite (Ka band services)
2.5 Digital economy/digital media
2.5.1 Overview
2.5.2 Services
2.6 Digital broadcasting
2.6.1 Overview of broadcasting market
2.6.2 Satellite TV
3. Iraq
3.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Iraq
3.1.1 Internet statistics
3.2 Broadband and Internet subscriber forecasts
3.3 Wireless broadband
3.3.1 Internet via satellite
3.4 Digital economy/digital media
3.4.1 Overview
4. Israel
4.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Israel
4.1.1 Broadband and Internet statistics
4.2 ADSL and cable networks
4.3 Israel’s ISP market
4.4 Wireless (fixed) broadband
4.4.1 WiFi
4.4.2 WiMAX
4.5 Digital Media / Digital Economy
4.5.1 Overview
4.5.2 Digital broadcasting
5. Jordan
5.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Jordan
5.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
5.1.2 VoIP and Triple Play
5.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
5.2.1 Scenario 1 - higher growth
5.2.2 Scenario 2 - lower growth
5.3 ISP market
5.3.1 Orange Internet
5.3.2 Umniah/Batelco Jordan
5.3.3 Cyberia
5.3.4 TE Data
5.4 ADSL
5.5 Wireless (fixed) broadband
5.5.1 WiFi
5.5.2 WiMAX
5.6 Digital economy/digital media
5.6.1 Overview
5.6.2 Maktoob Group
5.6.3 Jabbar Internet Group
5.6.4 Jeeran
5.6.5 Watwet/TootCorp
5.7 Digital broadcasting
5.7.1 Broadcasting market overview
5.7.2 Jordan Media City (JMC)
5.7.3 Jordan Television (JTV)
5.7.4 Rubicon Group
5.8 IPTV
6. Kuwait
6.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Kuwait
6.1.1 Broadband and Internet statistics
6.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
6.3 ISP market
6.3.1 Overview
6.3.2 Qualitynet
6.3.3 Zaji /KEMS
6.3.4 Fast Telecommunications Company
6.3.5 United Networks
6.4 ADSL
6.5 Wireless broadband
6.5.1 WiMAX
6.5.2 Internet via satellite
6.5.3 Mobile broadband (access)
6.6 VoIP
6.7 Digital economy/digital media
6.7.1 Overview
6.8 Digital broadcasting
6.8.1 Overview of broadcasting market
6.8.2 Orbit Showtime Network (OSN)
7. Lebanon
7.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Lebanon
7.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
7.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
7.3 Data service providers
7.3.1 Overview
7.3.2 Cable One (Wigo Lebanon)
7.3.3 Cedarcom
7.3.4 GlobalCom Data Services
7.3.5 Pesco Telcom
7.3.6 Sodetel
7.4 ISP market
7.4.1 IDM (Netlink)
7.4.2 Cyberia
7.4.3 TerraNet
7.4.4 LYNX/Fiberlink Networks
7.5 ADSL
7.6 Cable modems
7.7 Wireless broadband
7.7.1 Local Multipoint Distribution System (LMDS)
7.7.2 WiFi
7.7.3 WiMAX
7.7.4 iBurst
7.7.5 Internet via satellite (Ku band services)
7.8 VoIP
7.9 Triple play
7.10 Digital economy/digital media
7.10.1 Overview
7.10.2 Woopra
7.11 Digital media
7.11.1 Digital broadcasting overview
7.11.2 Broadcasting regulation
7.11.3 Free-to-Air (FTA) and satellite TV
7.11.4 Pay TV
8. Oman
8.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Oman
8.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
8.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
8.3 ADSL
8.4 Wireless broadband
8.4.1 WiFi
8.4.2 WiMAX
8.4.3 Mobile broadband
8.5 Digital economy/digital media
8.5.1 Overview
8.5.2 Knowledge Oasis Muscat
8.5.3 Services
8.6 Digital broadcasting
8.6.1 Overview of the broadcasting market
9. Qatar
9.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Qatar
9.1.1 Broadband and Internet statistics
9.2 Broadband forecasts
9.2.1 Scenario 1 - higher growth
9.2.2 Scenario 2 - lower growth
9.3 ADSL
9.4 FttH
9.5 Wireless Broadband
9.5.1 WiFi
9.5.2 WiMAX
9.5.3 Mobile broadband
9.6 Triple play
9.7 VoIP
9.8 Digital economy/digital media
9.8.1 E-government
9.8.2 E-health
9.9 Digital broadcasting
9.9.1 Overview of the broadcasting market
9.9.2 IPTV
9.9.3 Al Jazeera
9.9.4 Qatar Cable Vision
10. Saudi Arabia
10.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Saudi Arabia
10.1.1 Censorship
10.1.2 Broadband statistics
10.2 ISP market
10.3 ADSL
10.4 Broadband powerline (BPL)
10.5 Wireless broadband
10.5.1 WiFi
10.5.2 WiMAX
10.5.3 Mobile broadband
10.5.4 Internet via satellite
10.6 Digital Economy/Digital media
10.6.1 Services
10.6.2 Digital media
10.7 Digital Broadcasting
10.7.1 Overview of broadcasting market
10.7.2 Satellite-based digital Pay TV
11. Syria
11.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Syria
11.1.1 Censorship
11.1.2 Internet and broadband statistics
11.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
11.3 ISP market
11.3.1 Major ISPs
11.4 Wireless broadband
11.4.1 Mobile broadband
11.5 Digital economy/digital media
11.5.1 Overview
11.5.2 Services
11.6 Digital broadcasting
11.6.1 Overview of the broadcasting market
12. Turkey
12.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Turkey
12.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
12.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts - 2014; 2019
12.2.1 Scenario 1 - higher broadband subscriber growth
12.2.2 Scenario 2 - lower broadband subscriber growth
12.3 ADSL
12.4 Cable modems
12.5 Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) networks
12.6 Wireless broadband
12.6.1 WiFi
12.6.2 Mobile broadband
12.6.3 Mobile broadband (Access)
12.7 Digital Media / Digital Economy
12.7.1 Overview
12.7.2 Services
12.7.3 Digital broadcasting
13. United Arab Emirates
13.1 Overview of the broadband access market in UAE
13.1.1 Censorship and site blocking
13.1.2 Dubai Internet City (DIC)
13.2 Broadband Statistics
13.3 Internet access locations
13.4 ISP market
13.5 VoIP
13.6 Fibre to the Home (FttH)
13.7 ADSL
13.8 Cable modems
13.9 Wireless broadband
13.9.1 WiFi
13.9.2 WiMAX
13.9.3 Mobile broadband
13.9.4 Internet via satellite
13.10 Digital Media / Digital Economy
13.10.1 Overview
13.10.2 Services
13.10.3 Smart cities/smart communities
13.10.4 Digital media
13.10.5 Digital broadcasting
14. Yemen
14.1 Overview of the broadband access market in Yemen
14.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
14.2 Broadband subscriber forecasts
14.3 ADSL
14.4 Digital broadcasting overview
15. Glossary of Abbreviations
Table 1 - Internet users and penetration estimates in Bahrain - 1995 - 2011
Table 2 - Internet subscribers in Bahrain - 1999 - 2009
Table 3 - Broadband subscribers in Bahrain - 2005 - 2009
Table 4 - Broadband subscribers by access method in Bahrain - 2004 - 2009
Table 5 - Dial-up Internet subscribers in Bahrain - 2005 - 2009
Table 6 - Market share of Internet and broadband by access method in Bahrain - 2004 - 2009
Table 7 - Broadband subscribers by access speed in Bahrain - 2007 - 2009
Table 17 - ADSL and cable networks - subscribers and market share in Israel - 2005 - 2010
Table 18 - Bezeq ADSL subscriber ARPU - 2005 - 2010
Table 19 - ISP market shares in Israel - 2005 - 2009
Table 20 - NetVision broadband subscribers - 2006 - 2009
Table 21 - Walla! Communications revenue and profit - 2005 - 2010
Table 22 - Broadcasting market statistical overview in Israel - 2009
Table 23 - HOT cable TV subscribers - 2007 - 2009
Table 24 - YES revenue and profit - 2007 - 2010
Table 25 - YES satellite TV subscribers, market share and ARPU - 2002 - 2010
Table 26 - Internet users and penetration rate in Jordan - 1995 - 2011
Table 27 - Internet subscribers and penetration rate in Jordan - 1999 - 2009
Table 28 - Internet subscribers by access method in Jordan - 2009
Table 29 - DSL subscribers in Jordan - 2001 - 2009
Table 30 - JRTVC revenue - 2005 - 2007
Table 31 - Internet user and penetration estimates in Kuwait - 1995 - 2011
Table 32 - Internet subscribers in Kuwait - 2003 - 2011
Table 33 - Broadband subscribers in Kuwait - 2001 - 2011
Table 34 - Internet user and penetration estimates in Lebanon - 1995-- 2011
Table 35 - Internet subscribers in Lebanon - 2001 - 2011
Table 36 - ADSL subscribers in Lebanon - 2008 - 2011
Table 37 - Cable modem Internet subscribers in Lebanon - 2002 - 2009
Table 38 - Internet users and penetration estimates in Oman - 1998 - 2011
Table 39 - Fixed-line Internet subscribers in Oman - 2000 - 2010
Table 40 - Internet sector ARPU in Oman - 2005 - 2009
Table 41 - Leased-line subscribers in Oman - 2004 - 2010
Table 42 - ADSL subscribers in Oman - 2005 - 2010
Table 43 - Internet users and penetration estimates in Qatar - 1995 - 2011
Table 44 - Internet subscribers in Qatar - 1999 - 2011
Table 45 - ADSL subscribers in Qatar - 2003 - 2011
Table 46 - Forecast broadband subscribers in Qatar - higher growth scenario - 2011, 2012; 2015
Table 47 - Forecast broadband subscribers in Qatar - lower growth scenario - 2011, 2012; 2015
Table 48 - Qtel triple play subscribers - 2008 - 2010
Table 49 - Internet users and penetration estimates in Qatar - 1995 - 2011
Table 50 - Broadband subscribers and household penetration in Qatar - 2001 - 2009
Table 51 - Mobily mobile broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2010
Table 52 - Internet user and penetration rate estimates in Syria - 1999 - 2011
Table 53 - Internet subscribers and penetration rate in Syria - 1999 - 2009
Table 54 - ADSL subscribers in Syria - 2004 - 2009
Table 55 - Internet user and penetration rate estimates in Turkey - 1998 - 2011
Table 56 - Internet subscribers and penetration rate in Turkey - 2003 - 2009
Table 57 - Broadband subscribers and penetration in Turkey - 2001 - 2009
Table 58 - Broadband subscribers by access technology in Turkey - 2004 - 2009
Table 59 - Broadband market shares in Turkey - 2007 - 2009
Table 60 - Forecast broadband subscribers - higher market growth scenario - 2014; 2019
Table 61 - Forecast broadband subscribers - lower market growth scenario - 2014; 2019
Table 62 - Turk Telekom ADSL ARPU and proportion of total fixed-line revenue - 2007 - 2010
Table 63 - Electronic certificate and mobile electronic certificate ownership in Turkey - 2005 - 2009
Table 64 - Audience share by channel in Turkey - 2006 - 2008
Table 65 - Internet user and penetration estimates in UAE - 1995 - 2011
Table 66 - Internet subscribers and penetration in UAE - 2000 - 2011
Table 67 - Internet and broadband subscribers by access method in UAE - 2000 - 2010
Table 68 - Residential and business Internet and broadband subscribers in UAE - 2007 - 2009
Table 69 - Broadband subscribers by operator in UAE - 2000 - 2010
Table 70 - Total Internet revenue and Internet and broadband ARPU in UAE - 2007 - 2009
Table 71 - du IPTV subscribers - 2008 - 2010
Table 72 - Internet user and penetration estimates in Yemen - 1997 - 2011
Table 73 - Internet subscribers in Yemen - 2001 - 2011

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