UAE and Qatar offer cheapest broadband but it’s still too expensive

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Although recent reports have placed the UAE and Qatar as cheapest in the region for broadband depending on which offerings you look at, analysts are saying that pricing is still too high and operators have simply got it wrong. Informa Telecoms & Media analyst, Nicholas Jotischky reckons that pricing has resulted in low penetration rates and carriers in the region should look to Europe to learn the lessons of pricing strategies.

Jotischsky has a point. According to a study by consultancy Arthur D. Little, Qatar leads the Middle East in terms of broadband value for money with the company’s regional managing director claiming that pricing in Qatar is currently 23% less than in other GCC nations. However, broadband consumers pay an average of US$16 per megabyte of download speed in the US as compared to US$46 on average in the Middle East and Africa according to analyst firm Point Topic.

When it comes to statistics you can prove anything, which is why another study has placed the UAE as the most affordable country for broadband in the region. A report from Arab Advisors that has analysed offerings according to its ADSL Affordability Measure (AAM), which compares ADSL cost as a percentage of GDP per capita, places the Emirates as cheapest with a score of 1.3%. Mauritania had the most expensive rate of the countries analysed, registering 92.5% of GDP per capita for speeds of both 256Kbps and 512Kbps.

Qatar still rides high on the cost efficiency metric and registers the most affordable 512Kbps service which is available at just 1.4% of GDP per capita as compared to 1.6% for the UAE.

Stewart Baines

I've been writing about technology for nearly 20 years, including editing industry magazines Connect and Communications International. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Anthony Plewes. My focus in Futurity Media is in emerging technologies, social media and future gazing. As a graduate of philosophy & science, I have studied futurology & foresight to the post-grad level.