Middle East faces up to competition
Last year total mobile revenue per capita in the Middle East demonstrated a trend above that of comparable European markets thanks largely to a lack of serious competition. However, increasing liberalisation across the region means local operators now face the spectre of tightening margins, warns research firm Analysys.
It’s not all bad news though, as service revenues will be boosted in many countries by strong growth in subscribers, which should help counter the effect of falling ARPU. Total mobile service revenue is forecast to grow from $22bn in 2006 to $39.7bn by the end of 2012.
Penetration across the region is set to grow rapidly. New mobile operators in Egypt and Saudi Arabia will be among the major catalysts for subscriber growth in the region says the analyst.
Low fixed-line penetration in the Middle East will enable MNOs to capture a greater share of total telecoms spend and will present opportunities for carrier to increase their non-voice ARPU through the provision of mobile broadband.
“While there is increasing liberalisation of the mobile market across the region, mobile operators in the Middle East have benefited from the relative lack of competition in both fixed and mobile markets and have been able to bring in impressive revenues,” said the Daniel Jones of Analysys. “However, as competition intensifies across the region, operators will have an increasingly tough time trying to maintain this premium.”