Middle East Will Surpass Europe in LTE Early Adoption, Pyramid Finds

May 28, 2010

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and UAE will pioneer Long Term Evolution (LTE) adoption in the Middle East as LTE penetration rate for these countries is expected to reach 11.8 percent, more than the projected Western European average of 7.7 percent, according to a new report from Pyramid Research (www.pyr.com).

In the Insider report LTE in the Middle East: Early Lessons From the Gulf Pioneers, Pyramid Research Analyst Kerem Arsal examines the market criteria that will drive the early LTE deployments in the Middle East. By relating the driving factors to our forecasts for LTE adoption, it shows why certain markets are better positioned for growth than others in the region. Arsal also investigates the obstacles that some Middle Eastern markets may face despite sharing some commonalities with the early adopters. To provide a closer look at the active dynamics, this report presents three case studies from Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Turkey, which collectively comprise more than half of the total mobile service revenues in the region. Download an excerpt of this report here: http://www.pyramidresearch.com/downloads.htm?id=5&sc=PRN052710_INSAME23. Purchase this report online here: http://www.pyramidresearch.com/store/ins_ame_100521.htm?sc=PRN052710_INSAME23

While the Middle East is a smaller market, it makes up the difference in its potential for growth. The Middle East's mobile data revenue growth of 34 percent for 2009 compares with only 7 percent for the same period in Western Europe, Arsal notes. "We expect LTE adoption in the region to reach 6.1 percent 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," he says. "Among the region's LTE pioneers - specifically Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Bahrain - we project LTE adoption to reach 11.1 percent of all subscriptions by 2014, which surpasses our forecast of a 7.7 percent LTE adoption rate in Western Europe."

Mobile data revenue growth is a result of the absence of strong fixed broadband infrastructure and/or sufficient fixed competition, giving favorable signals to the network operators that are considering LTE deployments in the region. "Throughout the wealthier Gulf region, the absence of widespread fixed broadband infrastructure forced most subscribers to rely on mobile technologies for their Internet needs; as a result, some markets in the Middle East, particularly the Gulf area, have experienced huge leaps in mobile broadband demand," Arsal explains. "These are the most suitable settings for LTE, which is likely to begin its life cycle 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."

LTE in the Middle East: Early Lessons from the Gulf Pioneers is part of Pyramid Research's Africa & Middle East Telecom Insider report series. Download an excerpt of the report: http://www.pyramidresearch.com/downloads.htm?id=5&sc=PRN052710_INSAME23. This report can be purchased online here: http://www.pyramidresearch.com/store/ins_ame_100521.htm?sc=PRN052710_INSAME23 or by contacting jbaker@pyr.com.

CONTACT: Jennifer Baker of Pyramid Research, +1-617-871-1910, jbaker@pyr.com

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SOURCE: Pyramid Research

CONTACT: Jennifer Baker of Pyramid Research, +1-617-871-1910,

Web Site: http://www.pyr.com/