While the Middle East has relatively low levels of fixed broadband penetration when compared at a global level; there are still some very progressive developments occurring in this diverse region. Mobile is the predominant broadband platform in many Middle Eastern countries - but there are also many examples of countries investing and encouraging the build-out of fixed broadband networks and National Broadband Networks (NBNs).
Israel and Saudi Arabia are two examples of countries in the Middle East which have a higher level of fixed broadband penetration when compared to other markets in the region, although the majority of these subscriptions are based on DSL. In Saudi Arabi however there is evidence that DSL subscriptions are in decline as consumers switch to either mobile broadband or FttH/FttP service offerings.
Fibre-based access technologies are already dominant in The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.
In Turkey we see significant investment in expanding fibre-optic broadband networks underway but in the meantime DSL retains it status of having the largest market share of all the fixed broadband access technologies.
Government support is crucial for fixed broadband development and some governments are encouraging infrastructure sharing in order to create competition and speed up fixed broadband progress. A significant development occurred in early 2018, when Iran introduced fibre-based infrastructure sharing.
Bahrain’s telecommunications industry is guided by its Fourth National Telecommunications Plan which focuses on fibre-optic infrastructure deployment and establishing affordable prices for high-speed access. The development of a national broadband network based on fibre is well underway in Jordan and the Ministry of Communications (MoC) in Kuwait is also expanding Kuwait’s fibre broadband infrastructure.
Lebanon has also been working on improving its fixed infrastructure in recent years, driven by the telecoms ministry. In 2018 we are seeing significant progress in this area with the awarding of licenses which allows three existing services providers to operate and supply FttH services to consumers, using Ogero’s government-owned network.
As part of Oman’s National Broadband Strategy, the Oman Broadband Company (OBC) hopes to have all homes and businesses connected to its national broadband infrastructure by 2040.
Looking at Iran from a broad perspective; it appears to offer significant opportunities for telecoms growth. Its population is one of the largest in the Middle East, it has a youthful population and there is an unmet demand for both fixed and mobile telecoms services.
Overall the political unrest in Iraq has battered its telecommunications sector and created a challenging environment for the telecoms operators in recent years. In 2018 however there are signs of stability with the installation of thousands of new fibre-optic cables.
Syria and Yemen have also struggled to maintain telecoms infrastructure and services under the pressures of civil unrest. In 2018 there are reports Syria’s situation is stabilising and this perhaps offers optimism that the fixed broadband sector may be once again restored and developed.
The Middle East is a diverse region and while its fixed broadband penetration and average speeds are still comparatively low - it is encouraging to see that many governments and operators are supportive of national broadband development. Once substantial high-speed networks based on fibre are place, the Middle Eastern region offers many opportunities for services and industries to grow that require high-speed access such as e-commerce; data centres; start-ups; e-health and smart communities.
- Many unique challenges and opportunities exist in the Iranian telecoms market.
- Fixed broadband subscribers have been declining in Bahrain since 2014.
- Israel has a higher level of fixed broadband penetration than many other countries in the region.
- The improvements to Lebanon's broadband infrastructure will boost the already flourishing digital economy as well as the start-up culture that has attracted international interest and recognition.
- The UAE has gained international recognition for its high FttH broadband penetration rates.
- Once stability is firmly in place in Iraq, the opportunity to build-out fixed and mobile infrastructure will arise in some of the areas which have low coverage or suffered the brunt of destruction.
- National Broadband Network deployment continues in Jordan.
- Improvements to Kuwait’s fibre-broadband infrastructure are underway in 2018.
- Oman has a well-established mobile sector and is now growing its fibre-optic broadband infrastructure.
- Increasing international capacity will assist in Qatar's long-term development goals as stated in its National Development Strategy document Qatar National Vision 2030.
- Turkey offers substantial opportunities for fixed broadband growth considering its current penetration is only around 15%.
- The civil war in Syria showed signs of stabilising in 2018 and this has raised hopes that infrastructure and economic reconstruction activities may begin. This can only be positive for the telecoms sector which has paid a heavy toll from the years of destruction.
- Until telecommunications infrastructure can be improved across Yemen and the civil unrest stabilises - there will be very little progress ahead for the sector in the short term.
- Internet penetration in Saudi Arabia has reached around 80%, well above the average for the Middle East.
1. Regional overview
1.1 Regional analysis
1.2 Highlighted growth opportunities
1.2.2 Data centres
1.2.3 Refugee assistance
1.2.4 Start-up sector
1.3 Regional statistics
2.1 Market analysis
2.2 Broadband statistics
2.2.1 National Broadband Network (NBN)
2.3 Other fixed broadband services
2.3.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
3.1 Introduction and statistical overview
3.1.1 Market analysis
3.1.2 Broadband statistics
3.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
3.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
3.4 Other fixed broadband services
3.4.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
4.1.1 Internet statistics
4.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
4.3 Other fixed broadband services
5.1 Market analysis
5.2 Broadband statistics
5.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
5.4 Fibre networks
5.4.1 Unlimited (Israel Broadband Company)
5.4.2 Fixed wireless (WiFi)
6.1 Market analysis
6.2 Fixed broadband speeds and costs
6.3 Broadband and Internet statistics
6.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
6.5 Other fixed broadband services
6.5.1 Fixed wireless (WiFi and WiMAX)
7.1 Introduction and statistical overview
7.1.1 Market analysis
7.1.2 Broadband statistics
8.1 Market analysis
8.2 Broadband statistics
8.3 Competition issues
8.3.1 Data service provision
8.4 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
8.5 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
8.6 Other fixed broadband services
9.1 Introduction and statistical overview
9.1.1 Internet and broadband statistics
9.2 Wireless broadband
10.1 Introduction and statistical overview
10.1.1 Market analysis
10.1.2 Broadband statistics
10.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
10.3 Fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) and Fibre-to-the-home (FttH)
10.3.1 Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN)
10.3.2 Vodafone Qatar
10.4 Wireless Broadband
11. Saudi Arabia
11.1 Introduction and statistical overview
11.2 Internet access
11.4 Broadband statistics
11.5 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
11.6 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
11.6.2 GO Telecom
11.7 Other fixed broadband services
12.1 Market analysis
12.2 Broadband statistics
12.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
13.1 Market analysis
13.2 Broadband statistics
13.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
13.4 Cable internet
13.5 Fibre broadband
14. United Arab Emirates
14.1 Introduction and statistical overview
14.1.1 Market analysis
14.1.2 Broadband statistics
14.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
14.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
14.4 Other fixed broadband services
14.5 Fixed wireless (WiFi, WiMAX)
15.1 Introduction and statistical overview
15.1.1 Market analysis
15.1.2 Broadband statistics
15.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
15.3 Other fixed broadband services
15.3.1 Fixed wireless (Wi-Fi and WiMAX)
List of Tables
Table 1 - UAE - DSL subscriptions in decline - 2008 -2018
Table 2 - Israel - DSL leads fixed broadband subscription market share
Table 3 - Bahrain - Internet users and penetration estimates - 2011 - 2018
Table 4 - Middle East - Mobile broadband market share versus fixed broadband - 2017
Table 5 - Middle East - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2017; 2018
Table 6 - Bahrain - Internet users and penetration estimates - 2011 - 2018
Table 7 - Bahrain - Fixed broadband subscribers -2012 - 2018
Table 8 - Bahrain - Fixed broadband - market share of technologies - 2016
Table 9 - Iran - Internet users and penetration estimates - 1996 - 2017
Table 10 - Iran - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2006 - 2020
Table 11 - Iran - Household PC penetration - 2002 - 2016
Table 12 - Historical - Irancell WiMAX subscribers - 2012 - 2015
Table 13 - Iraq - fixed broadband subscribers - 2017; 2018
Table 14 - Iraq - Internet user penetration and estimates - 2001 - 2018
Table 15 - Iraq - fixed and mobile Internet traffic - 2017
Table 16 - Israel - Internet users and penetration - 1995 - 2018
Table 17 - Israel - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2018
Table 18 - Israel - Bezeq fixed broadband subscribers - 2005 - Q2 2018
Table 19 - Israel - Average broadband speed per retail Bezeq customer - 2007 - 2017
Table 20 - Israel - PC penetration - 2002 - 2018
Table 21 - Israel - International internet bandwidth - 2005 - 2016
Table 22 - Israel - Fixed broadband subscribers - Cable, DSL and FttH/B - 2010 - 2016
Table 23 - Jordan - Internet users and penetration rate - 2008 - 2018
Table 24 - Jordan - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration rate - 2010 - 2020
Table 25 - Jordan - FttH/FttP subscriptions and market share - 2015 - 2020
Table 26 - Kuwait - Internet users and penetration - 1995 - 2018
Table 27 - Kuwait - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2006 - 2018
Table 28 - Lebanon - Internet user and penetration estimates - 2013 - 2018
Table 29 - Lebanon - Fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2002 - 2018
Table 30 - Lebanon - Household PC penetration - 2002 - 2016
Table 31 - Oman - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2004 - mid 2018
Table 32 - Oman - Internet users and penetration - 2013 - 2018
Table 33 - Oman - International Internet bandwidth - 2012 - 2016
Table 34 - Qatar - Historical - internet penetration - 1995 - 2016
Table 35 - Qatar - Internet penetration and users - 2016 - 2018
Table 36 - Qatar - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2002 - 2018
Table 37 - Qatar - Fixed broadband subscribers by technology - 2012 - 2016
Table 38 - Qatar - Household PC penetration - 2007 - 2015
Table 39 - Qatar - International Internet bandwidth - 2010 - 2016
Table 40 - Saudi Arabia - Internet users and user penetration - 2005 - 2017
Table 41 - Saudi Arabia - Fixed broadband subscriptions - technologies and penetration - 2010 - 1H 2018
Table 42 - Saudi Arabia - household PC penetration - 2002 - 2017
Table 43 - Syria - percentage of Internet users - 2010 - 2018
Table 44 - Syria - fixed broadband subscriptions - 2004 - 2018
Table 45 - Syria - International Internet bandwidth - 2004 - 2016
Table 46 - Turkey - Broadband subscribers and penetration rate - 2008 - Q1 2018
Table 47 - Turkey - Average monthly data usage per Turk Telekom broadband subscriber - 2011; 2013; 2015; 2017
Table 48 - Turkey - International Internet Bandwidth - 2003 - 2016
Table 49 - Turkey - xDSL subscriptions - 2015 - Q1 2018
Table 50 - Turkey - cable internet subscriptions - 2015 - Q1 2018
Table 51 - Turkey - fibre broadband subscribers - 2013 - 2017
Table 52 - UAE - internet users and penetration - 1998 - 2018
Table 53 - UAE - fixed broadband subscribers and penetration - 2001 - 2018
Table 54 - UAE - international internet bandwidth - 2006 - 2016
Table 55 - UAE - Operators fibre broadband market share - 2015 - 2017
Table 56 - UAE - Subscribers to FttH/FttB - 2015 - 2017
Table 57 - UAE - DSL subscriptions in decline - 2008 -2018
Table 58 - Yemen - Internet penetration and households with Internet access - 2010-2016
Table 59 - Yemen - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2018
Table 60 - Yemen - International Internet bandwidth - 2005 - 2016
List of Charts
Chart 1 - UAE - The rise and fall of DSL access technology - 2008 - 2018
Chart 2 - Middle East - Fixed broadband penetration - per 100 inhabitants - 2017
Chart 3 - Turkey - Major operators - market share of fibre broadband subscribers - Q1 2018
List of Exhibits
Exhibit 1 - The evolution of fixed internet/broadband in Lebanon
- 012 Smile
- 013 NetVision
- Alfa Telecom (Orascom)
- Bezeq International
- GO Telecom/Etihad Atheeb
- Golan Telecom (Electra Communications)
- HOT Mobile
- HOT Telecom
- Integrated Telecom Company (ITC)/Bayn Consortium
- Iraqi Telephone and Postal Company (ITPC)
- Israel Broadband Company (IBC)
- Jordan Telecom Group/Orange
- Kalaam Telecom
- MenaTelecom (acquired by VIVA)
- Mobile 019
- Mobile Telecommunications Co (MTC)/Zain
- Ogero Telecom
- Oman Broadband Company (OBC)
- Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel)
- Ooredoo Oman
- Ooredoo Qatar
- Partner (Formerly Orange)
- Public Telecommunications Corporation (PTC)
- Qatar National Broadband Network (QNBN)
- Remi Levy
- Saudi Telecom Company (STC)/Bravo
- Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE)
- Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI)
- Touch (Zain)
- Turk Telekom (formerly Avea)
- Turkcell, Vodafone Turkey
- Turksat, Superonline
- Viva Bahrain
- Zain Bahrain