Substantial increase in cellular connections in Middle East

United Arab Emirates is the most connected country in the Arab World according to the Arab Advisors Group's annually released Total Country Connectivity Measure (TCCM)...

Arab Advisors Group calculates the TCCM by adding the household mainline penetration, cellular penetration, and Internet users penetration rates in each country. These results were released at the Annual Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference, held recently in Amman. "Convergence presents us with a great opportunity that the Media & Telecom business can greatly benefit from, as new sources of revenue are emerging" said Eng. Basem Rousan, Jordan's Minister of Information and Communications Technology. UAE's TCCM score of 261.4% availed the country the first rank in the Arab World. Qatar followed at 255.6%, followed by Bahrain (233.9%), Saudi Arabia (173.5%), Kuwait (161.8%), Oman (137.5%), Libya (131.3%), Jordan (130.3%), Lebanon (113.1%), Algeria (110.4%), Tunisia (110%), Syria (106.4%), Egypt (92.7%), Palestine (74.5%), Morocco (73.2%), Iraq (64.2%), Yemen (42.9%), Mauritania (41%) and Sudan (21.7%).

The TCCM shows the extent of connectivity of individuals in a certain country whether via fixed lines, cellular lines and/or Internet. Off course, there will be an overlap since many individuals will be using these three communications technologies at the same time. However, the measure still yields an accurate and informative picture on the level of ICT services penetration in each country: for example, if a country has a TCCM measure of 60%, this means that at least 40% of the population are not users of any of the three services constituting the measure. While a TCCM score of more than 100% is very positive, it nonetheless, does not mean that all the population uses the services due to overlap of usage.

The main driver in the increasing TCCM scores by end of 2006 was cellular subscriber growth with Internet services contributing a much lower portion of the increase. The Arab World still lags behind developed countries in the penetration and use of broadband Internet and Internet access at large.

Commenting on these figures Arab Advisors Group's Founder and General Manager Jawad Jalal Abbassi said: "While unleashing the cellular boom was relatively easy, effecting a similar boom in the Arab Internet markets a prerequisite for any knowledge-based economy- will require coordinated and intensive policies and initiatives."

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