Broadband usage grows as PSTN subscriber numbers tail off

icones_(2)_5x2.gifBroadband usage across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is estimated to rise approximately 40% by 2015 and generate almost US$600m (Dh2.2 billion), according to Booz and Company vice president Karim Sabbagh.

Speaking at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Sabbagh stated that broadband usage in the region this year will be close to 15% among 300-350 million inhabitants, a market size that is comparable to the size of the US.

"Up to 36% of users and viewers spend their time watching television today, and close to 70% spend time on the internet," said Sabbagh. "This tells us where our listeners are going to be, and where we need to start making significant headway. This doesn't mean traditional media will take a back seat, it just means new media will be as important."

However, traditional PSTN telecoms networks are attracting fewer subscribers. A recent Arab Advisors Group report analysing 20 fixed-line operators in 15 Arab countries has revealed that those operators provided 27.8m fixed line subscriptions by the end of September 2009. That represents a fall of 4.6% from the year end of 2008 when those operators has 29.2m subscribers.

Also speaking at the Summit, Google CEO Eric Schmidt revealed the MENA region is the company's fastest growing region in the world, in terms of the number of users and revenue generated. Latin America is the second fastest growing. 

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.