Expects Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE LTE penetration rate to reach 11.8%
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE are expected to pioneer Long Term Evolution (LTE) adoption in the Middle East, with LTE penetration rate for these countries is projected to reach 11.8%, more than the projected Western European average of 7.7%, according to a new report from Pyramid Research.
According to the ‘LTE in the Middle East: Early Lessons From the Gulf Pioneers’ report, the Middle East’s mobile data revenue grew 34% in 2009 compared to only 7% for the same period in Western Europe.
The research firm expects LTE adoption in the region to reach 6.1% of all mobile subscriptions by 2014, due to strong growth of demand for data services, reliance on mobile rather than fixed access technologies, and the increasingly competitive approaches of the telecom regulators.
Among the region’s LTE pioneers – specifically Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain, LTE adoption is expected to reach 11.1% of all subscriptions by 2014, surpassing the forecast of a 7.7% LTE adoption rate in Western Europe.
The mobile data revenue growth in the region is giving favourable signals to network operators that are considering LTE deployments in the region, the firm said.
Kerem Arsal, analyst at Pyramid Research, said: Throughout the wealthier Gulf region, the absence of widespread fixed broadband infrastructure forced most subscribers to rely on mobile technologies for their Internet needs; as a result, some markets in the Middle East, particularly the Gulf area, have experienced huge leaps in mobile broadband demand.
“These are the most suitable settings for LTE, which is likely to begin its life cycle with data cards and connectivity modems. In addition, wealthy Gulf nations have already developed much expertise in upgraded 3G networks; this will lead to a smoother transition to LTE.