Boom generation for mobile-phone makers on back of 4G

Residents of the UAE will not be surprised to hear that the use of mobile phones is on the rise.

Consumers in the Emirates have an average of two mobile subscriptions each - one of the highest penetration rates in the world.

But the mobile phone market is growing in other Arab countries.

According to the consultancy Ovum, total mobile phone shipments to the Middle East and Africa are forecast to hit 225.2 million by 2016, up from 206.1 million by the end of this year.

Overall, global mobile phone shipments are expected to hit 1.77 billion by 2016, driven by growth in mobile users in the emerging markets, Ovum said in a report issued on Wednesday.

Such growth is likely to have the greatest impact on markets such as Egypt and Tunisia, where there are lower rates of mobile use compared with markets such as the UAE.

But there could also be an impact on the UAE. As Ovum points out, greater demand for mobile handsets is partly driven by operators rolling out next-generation mobile networks.

"Operators switching to 3G and 4G mobile broadband networks will also play a key role," the consultancy said.

"Ovum's forecast shows that shipments of mobile broadband-enabled handsets will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 15.1 per cent from 2010 to 2016, to reach 962 million units."

With a move to 4G also planned in the UAE, it's hard to imagine the demand for mobile phones subsiding. Whether that means everyone will start carrying around three, rather than two mobiles remains to be seen.

Published: August 18, 2011 04:00 AM


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