Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE are likely to be among the earliest adopters of LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile network technology. LTE penetration for these countries is predicted by analyst firm Pyramid Research to reach 11.8% - far outstripping the projected western European average penetration rate of 7.7%.
"We expect 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, " said author Kerem Arsal to Light Reading. "These [countries] are the most suitable settings for LTE, which is likely to begin its lifecycle 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."
The number of LTE users is set to ramp up rapidly as the technology becomes available. Analyst firm, Infonetics Research, projects that LTE subscribers could exceed 153 million by 2014, with most of them split between Asia Pacific and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).
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.