As part of the ongoing strategy of the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to monitor and report on the trends and developments within the UAE telecommunications sector, the TRA has published its fifth 'Annual Sector Review'.
The report summaries the state of the fixed, mobile, and data telecommunications markets in the UAE in terms of subscribers, penetration rates, revenues, and usage (i.e. traffic volumes) during 2010 – 2013. The report also provides detail on the rankings of the UAE in a range of international information and communication technology (ICT) studies.
"This report highlights the continued development of the telecommunications sector of UAE. Evidently from the statistics contained within it, the sector continues to experience significant growth with the period from 2010 to 2013 building on the positive sector development seen in 2008 to 2011," said H.E. Mohammed Al Ghanim, Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
"The many positive trends illustrated within the review is testament to the strategic vision and operational expertise of Etisalat and du, and also to the continued oversight of the sector by the TRA. I was particularly encouraged by the performance of the Internet services segment and the fact that subscribers are taking advantage of the high speed, advanced networks that the operators have invested heavily in over the past years," he added.
Highlights from the research include:
· The UAE had over 2.08 million fixed line subscriptions and the fixed line penetration rate reached 25%;
· The number of active mobile subscriptions continued to grow reaching over 16 million by the end of the year with a penetration rate of 192.9%. This figure represents one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world;
· Revenues generated from mobile services has been progressively increasing and increased by 6.3% in 2013;
· International outgoing minutes from mobile phones increased by 37%, while international minutes from fixed line phones fell by 12%;
· The top destination of the outgoing international calls was Pakistan, with over 2.1 billion minutes;
· The total number of SMS and MMS messages sent during 2013 decreased by 13% and 23% respectively when compared to 2012 year;
· The total number of Internet service subscriptions increased 10.5% to reach over 1.043 million;
· The percentage of internet subscriptions using fiber technology increased by 24%; and
· The percentage of Internet subscriptions connected by fibre technology increased to 81% as customers were migrated from copper networks to new advanced networks.
There has also a marked trend of customers subscribing to higher speed Internet services over time. For example, in 2010 less than one third of the residential customers had Internet speeds of more than 4 Mbps but by the end of 2013, more than two thirds of subscriptions were at these higher speeds.