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United Arab Emirates - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

July 2020 | 107 pages | ID: U68AF4B2F26EEN

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The United Arab Emirates - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.


Telecom operators in the UAE face various challenges in 2020

The telecoms sector in the United Arab Emirates has had to quickly adapt to the changes and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Similar to other countries around the world, an increase in citizens working and studying from home created a surge in demand for fixed services, including video-streaming. This in turn, prompted the regulator to temporarily lift restrictions on some OTT services including Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

The UAE has a strong mobile market which is dominated by the two major operators of Etisalat and Du. Both operators are majority owned by the government. Interestingly, the COVID-19 outbreak has created a change in some mobile consumer behaviour. Du reported, for example, that some users had switched to pre-paid services in order to manage personal budgets – creating a decline in the more lucrative post-paid sector.

Etisalat and du have deployed sophisticated HSPA+ and LTE networks that cover most of the population, underpinning growth opportunities centred on mobile broadband, content and applications. Both Etisalat and Du have launched 5G networks and 2G spectrum is expected to be re-purposed for 5G use by the end of 2022. The remaining 2G networks will be shut-down at that point.

The well-established fibre-broadband network in the UAE is providing the operators with opportunities to grow new services and offerings such as triple-play.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:
  • The UAE boasts mobile penetration levels that are among the worlds’ highest.
  • The growing availability of low cost smart phones has driven mobile broadband penetration up sharply in the last couple of years.
  • Both Etisalat and du are demonstrating keen interest in developing 5G technology and are strongly supported by the TRA which has allocated spectrum bands.
  • Recently the TRA was encouraging affordable roaming rates within GCC countries.
  • This report includes assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.
Companies mentioned in this report include:

Etisalat; du; Thuraya; Yahsat; Virgin Mobile; Swyp.



3.1 Economic considerations and responses
3.2 Mobile devices
3.3 Subscribers
3.4 Infrastructure
3.5 Impact on the UAE


4.1 Historical overview
4.2 Market analysis


5.1 Introduction
5.2 Mobile and mobile broadband penetration
5.3 Fixed and mobile broadband penetration


6.1 Historic overview
6.2 Regulatory authority
6.3 Draft bill for new authority
6.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
6.5 Interconnect and access
6.6 Fibre access
6.7 Number Portability (NP)
6.8 Royalty payments
6.9 Censorship
6.10 Roaming tariff reduction
6.11 VoIP


7.1 Market analysis
7.2 Mobile statistics
7.3 Mobile broadband statistics
7.4 Mobile infrastructure
7.5 Major mobile operators
7.6 Mobile content and applications
7.7 Mobile handsets


8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
8.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
8.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
8.4 Other fixed broadband services


9.1 Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat)
9.2 Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company/du
9.3 Yahsat


10.1 Overview of the national telecom network
10.2 International infrastructure
10.3 Smart infrastructure





Table 1 Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities United Arab Emirates 2020
Table 2 UAE Real GDP growth and inflation 2020 - 2021
Table 3 UAE GDP and inflation 2014 2019
Table 4 UAE telecommunications revenue by service 2008 2018
Table 5 UAE - mobile subscribers and penetration 2009 2024
Table 6 UAE prepaid subscribers 2009 2019
Table 7 - UAE mobile broadband subscribers and penetration 2010 - 2024
Table 8 UAE mobile operators' market share by subscribers 2010 1H 2018
Table 9 Etisalat (UAE) mobile revenue and blended ARPU 2016 2018
Table 10 Etisalat (UAE) mobile subscribers 2011 2019
Table 11 du mobile revenue 2017; 2018
Table 12 du mobile subscribers and ARPU 2010 2018
Table 13 UAE internet penetration 2008 2018
Table 14 UAE fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2009 - 2024
Table 15 UAE international internet bandwidth 2008 - 2018
Table 16 UAE subscribers to FttH/FttB 2012 2017
Table 17 UAE Operators fibre broadband market share 2015 - 2017
Table 18 UAE DSL subscriptions in decline 2008 - 2017
Table 19 Etisalat group revenue and net profit 2009 2019
Table 20 Etisalat UAE fixed broadband subscribers 2010 2019
Table 21 du revenue 2008 2018
Table 22 UAE fixed lines in service and teledensity 2009 2024
Table 23 Historic - UAE fixed lines in service and teledensity 1995 2008
Table 24 Historic - UAE internet users and penetration 1998 2008
Table 25 Historic - UAE fixed broadband subscribers and penetration 2001 - 2008
Table 26 Historic - UAE domestic and international voice revenue 2008 2015
Table 27 Historic - UAE international telephone revenues 2008 2015
Table 28 Historic - UAE monthly fixed-line ARPU and MOU 2007 2015
Table 29 Historic - UAE mobile revenue and ARPU 2008 - 2015
Table 30 Historic - UAE - mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1995 - 2008
Table 31 Historic - UAE prepaid vs postpaid revenue 2008 - 2015
Table 32 Historic - UAE prepaid subscribers 2005 2008
Table 33 Historic - UAE SMS and MMS sent 2007 - 2015
Table 34 Historic - Etisalat group revenue and net profit 2005 2007
Table 35 Historical - du mobile minutes of use (MOU) 2010 2014
Chart 1 Middle East mobile subscriber and mobile broadband penetration - 2018
Chart 2 Middle East fixed and mobile broadband subscriber penetration - 2018
Chart 3 Growth of mobile subscriptions in the UAE 2009 2024
Chart 4 Mobile broadband growth in the UAE 2009 2024
Chart 5 Growth of fixed-lines in the UAE 2009 2024
Exhibit 1 UAE submarine cable networks

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