On a more sombre note, Arab broadband Internet markets remain far less developed than OECD markets. These findings were released at the 4th Annual Media and Telecoms Convergence Conference’s inaugural day on June 4th 2007.
The 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). The Arab Advisors Group, a member of the Arab Jordan Investment Bank Group, calculates the TCCM by adding the household mainlines penetration, cellular penetration, and Internet users penetration rates in each country. These results were released on the first day of the Fourth Annual Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference, which was inaugurated in Amman today by Jordanian Minister of ICT Eng. Basem Rousan.
“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, the Minister of Information and Communications Technology. He also added that “Government committed to providing a flexible legislative and regulatory environment that nurtures competitiveness and reflects the growing convergence in the ICT sector, as demonstrated in the new government 2007 Policy Statement.”
The Fourth Annual Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference 2007 is taking place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Amman on June 4th and 5th 2007 with the backing of 10 regional and global operators and companies and the participation of 400 delegates from over 18 countries representing leading regional and global media and telecommunications companies.
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.
“As usual, the main driver in the increasing TCCM scores by end of 2006 in the Arab World was cellular subscribers 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. For example, Bahrain leads the Arab World with a 5.79% Internet broadband penetration (total broadband accounts by total population). Still this is much lower than Denmark’s 32%, South Korea’s 29% or the United States’ 20%.” Commented Arab Advisors Group’s Founder and General Manager Jawad Jalal Abbassi. “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. This fourth annual media and telecoms convergence conference is a chance for operators, vendors and regulators to further enhance the growth in the regional markets for the benefit of all stakeholders (consumers and companies alike). The continued success of this regional event in Amman is a particular source of pride to us at Arab Advisors Group,” Mr. Abbassi added.
Dubai-based Oger Telecom is the Main Sponsor of the Arab Advisors’s Fourth Annual Media and Telecommunications Convergence Conference 2007. Oger Telecom is one of the region’s leading Full Services telecom conglomerates with over 30 million lines under management.
The annual conference has also received the support and sponsorship of Paltel Group (Palestine), Kalaam Telecom (Bahrain), XPress (Jordan), Jordan Telecom Group, Fastlink (Jordan), QUALCOMM (United States), Optimiza (Jordan), AdaptiveMobile (Ireland) and Glimmerglass (United States).
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