United Arab Emirates - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

United Arab Emirates - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

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Executive Summary

UAE introduces fixed network sharing agreement

The United Arab Emirates is one of the most advanced telecoms sector in the Middle East and with a government actively supporting Smart City and Digital Transformation initiatives – the future for the sector continues to look bright. This is assisted by the high rate of fibre penetration in the Emirates, where around 85% of all fixed broadband subscribes utilise FttH/FttP.

A milestone was reached in October 2015 when the TRA announced it had implemented fixed network sharing across the UAE. Both Etisalat and Du are now able to utilise fixed infrastructure and market services across all locations. This signalled the end of six years of negotiations between the TRA and the operators. While the arrangement does not currently include Pay TV it is expected this will become included by the end of 2016.

The UAE possesses a strong mobile market which includes high smart phone penetration. The focus of the operators in recent times has been revenue growth through offering increased service options such as bundling aimed at increasing mobile data usage. Their efforts are succeeding with mobile data now making up over 30% of both Etisalat’s and du’s mobile services revenue in the UAE.

Further opportunities for telecoms in the UAE exist around the growing enterprise sector, underpinned by a high number of SME’s operating in the country. In particular there is a growing need for data centre and managed services, along with M2M solutions and increased mobile broadband offerings.

The UAE government at both federal and emirate level has been proactive in the digital economy and digital media sectors, with programs to encourage computer and internet use. Like other countries in the Middle East, the UAE aims to transition into a ‘knowledge based and highly productive economy’ by 2021.

Generally speaking, e-commerce is growing in the stabilised markets of the Middle East and the UAE’s growing wealth and internet usage have spurred the development of e-commerce, with more and more shoppers being attracted by the value of online purchases, secure payment facilities, the reputation of the website, and the speed of transactions. The United Arab Emirates is also a prime location for the rise of streaming video and video-on-demand services due to its strong mobile and fixed infrastructure and a population which traditionally enjoys TV and entertainment.

Key telecom parameters – 2012; 2015

Sector | 2012 | 2015

| Subscribers to telecoms services (million):

Fixed Broadband | .95 | 1.15

Fixed-line telephony | 1.97 | 2.12

Mobile phone | 13.78 | 18.00

(Source: BuddeComm based on ITU)

Key developments:

Government services are actively being transitioned to offer online digital and mobile services, with over 95% of important government services offering m-government solutions.

Smart phone penetration has reached around 70% of all registered handsets.

Du and Etisalat are both demonstrating an interest in developing 5G and have developed various partnerships.

In 2015 du announced it had finished testing on its IoT network which uses nationally deployed sensors to relay data - and paves the way for smarter management of parking, waste and lighting.

Etisalat has over 11 million subscribers in the UAE.

Etisalat began offering a sub brand called FIVE in recent years and this calling card offers lower tariffs, per second billing and competitive rates for international calls.

Du is implementing WiFi UAE which provides free WiFi access in public places to all UAE residents.

Yahsat plans to launch its third satellite, Al Yah 3 by the end of 2016 which will extend its coverage to Brazil and another 16 markets in Africa.


Companies covered in this report include:

Etisalat, du, Yahsat, Thuraya, Icflix, Netflix, Starz Play, OSN, eLife.

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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications


1. Key statistics

1.1 Country overview

2. Telecommunications market

2.1 Recent developments

2.2 Historical overview

2.3 Market analysis

3. Regulatory environment

3.1 Historic overview

3.2 Regulatory authority

3.3 Telecom sector liberalisation

3.3.1 Second operator

3.3.2 Third operator

3.3.3 Satellite licence

3.4 Interconnect and access

3.5 Fibre access

3.6 Number Portability (NP)

4. Competition issues

5. Fixed network operators

5.1 Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)

5.2 Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company/du

5.3 Yahsat

6. Telecommunications infrastructure

6.1 Overview of the national telecom network

6.1.1 Fixed-line statistics

6.2 International infrastructure

6.2.1 Submarine cable networks

6.2.2 Terrestrial cable networks

6.2.3 Satellite networks

6.3 Smart infrastructure

6.3.1 Smart grids

6.3.2 Smart cities

6.3.3 Connected homes

7. Broadband market

7.1 Introduction and statistical overview

7.1.1 Market analysis

7.2 Broadband statistics

7.2.1 Broadband forecasts

7.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)

7.4 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks

7.4.1 Other fixed broadband services

8. Digital media

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Videostreaming

8.2.1 Media Zones

8.3 Social media

8.4 Communications: VoIP

8.4.1 Major players

9. Digital economy

9.1 e-Commerce

9.2 e-Government

9.3 e-Health

9.4 e-Education

10. Mobile communications

10.1 Market analysis

10.2 Mobile statistics

10.2.1 General statistics

10.2.2 Mobile voice

10.2.3 Mobile data

10.2.4 Mobile broadband statistics

10.3 Regulatory issues

10.3.1 Roaming tariff reduction

10.3.2 MNP

10.4 Mobile infrastructure

10.4.1 Brief intro analogue networks

10.4.2 Digital networks

10.4.3 IoT and M2M networks

10.5 Major mobile operators

10.5.1 Etisalat

10.5.2 du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company)

10.6 Mobile content and applications

10.6.1 Etisalat

10.6.2 du

10.6.3 m-commerce

10.6.4 m-banking (payments/loans)

10.6.5 m-TV

10.7 Mobile handsets

Chart 1 UAE telecommunications revenue by sector 2007 - 2014

Chart 2 UAE fixed broadband subscribers and annual growth rate 2002 - 2016

Exhibit 1 UAE submarine cable networks

Table 1 United Arab Emirates - country statistics 2015

Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2015

Table 3 Broadband statistics 2015

Table 4 Mobile statistics 2015

Table 5 National telecommunications authorities

Table 6 UAE GDP and inflation 2005 - 2020

Table 7 UAE telecommunications revenue by sector 2007 - 2014

Table 8 Etisalat group revenue and net profit 2005 - 2014

Table 9 Etisalat fixed subscribers and ARPU 2010 - 2014

Table 10 du revenue breakdown and profit/loss 2006 Q3 2015

Table 11 du fixed line subscribers 2007 - 2014

Table 12 du fixed line subscribers' breakdown September 2014

Table 13 UAE fixed lines in service and teledensity 1995 - 2015

Table 14 UAE domestic and international voice revenue 2008 - 2014

Table 15 UAE international outgoing traffic 2008 - 2014

Table 16 UAE international telephone revenues 2008 - 2014

Table 17 UAE monthly fixed-line ARPU and MOU 2008 - 2014

Table 18 UAE annual fixed-line voice minutes (breakdown and total) 2007 - 2014

Table 19 UAE internet users and penetration 1995 - 2016

Table 20 UAE fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2001 - 2016

Table 21 Etisalat fixed broadband subscribers 2010 - 2014

Table 22 UAE international internet bandwidth 2005 - 2014

Table 23 Forecast broadband subscribers higher growth scenario 2016, 2020; 2025

Table 24 Forecast broadband subscribers lower growth scenario 2016, 2020; 2025

Table 25 - Facebook Stats for Middle East as at July 2015

Table 26 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2004

Table 27 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2016

Table 28 UAE mobile operators' market share 2010 - 2014

Table 29 UAE mobile revenue and ARPU 2008 - 2014

Table 30 UAE prepaid vs postpaid revenue 2008 - 2014

Table 31 UAE prepaid subscribers 2005 - 2015

Table 32 UAE SMS and MMS sent 2007 - 2014

Table 33 UAE mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2015

Table 34 Etisalat mobile subscribers and ARPU 2011 - 2014

Table 35 du mobile revenue 2009 Q3 2015

Table 36 du mobile subscribers and ARPU 2010 Q3 2015

Table 37 du mobile minutes of use (MOU) 2010 - 2014

Table 38 UAE handset manufacturers' market share 2013-2015

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Etisalat, du, Yahsat, Thuraya, Icflix, Netflix, Starz Play, OSN, eLife.

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