The FTTH/B average penetration rate in the MENA region has reached 41.5 percent, while UAE leads the market at 67.7 percent, according to the latest FTTH MENA Panorama study. The study was released by the Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Council MENA, in partnership with IDATE Consulting, during its 6th annual conference, “FTTH, the Rise of Smart Nation”, held under the patronage of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of UAE.
According to the study, there were at least 41 FTTH/B projects in the MENA region in September 2014. At the same time, subscribers in the MENA region have reached over 1.7 million, an increase of 33 percent from the previous year, while the number of homes passed by FTTH/B was above 4 million, an increase of 355 percent from the previous year.
“The growth in FTTH/B coverage and take up rate is led by the dynamism of the GCC countries, most notably the UAE and KSA markets, where FTTH coverage is exhaustive. We are glad to have been able to unveil the result of our study during our event in the UAE, as UAE is leading not only the region, but the world in the uptake of FTTH,” said Dr Suleiman Al Hedaithy, Chairman and board member of the FTTH Council, Middle East & North Africa.
The study also shows that incumbents and alternative operators are the main actors involved in FTTH/B rollout, but at the same time, national programs should boost FTTH/B market in the MENA region. The country with the highest penetration rate in the region, as well as globally, is the UAE, while Qatar’s penetration rate is the second highest, at 57.6 percent, followed by Saudi Arabia, at 25.9 percent. Some of the key drivers for the increase in FTTH adoption are the mobile backhaul, as fibre becomes necessary to deal with the development of new mobile networks, as well as new housing programs and the national plans of governments in the MENA region.
Qatar’s high penetration can also be explained by the recent developments from Ooreedoo and Vodafone, who are willing to acquire the infrastructure deployed under by the QNBN program. In North Africa, Morocco and Tunisia present a strong potential due the involvement of incumbent and alternative players, respectively Meditel and Tunisiana, both willing to deploy and operate FTTH networks in dedicated neighbourhoods.
During the event, the International Telecommunication Union also released the ITU’s flagship statistics report: “Measuring the Information Society 2014″, in which price data are analyzed to provide insights into the relationship between affordability and income inequality, competition and regulation. The report also looks at new ICT data sources for measurement and examines the possible role of ICT big data for monitoring and development.
During the two day conference that took place on 24-25 November at the Dubai World Trade Center, regional stakeholders and government representatives discussed new FTTH related technologies and trends, as well as the recent FTTH deployments around the MENA region. The FTTH Council MENA also announced that the 7th edition of the yearly conference will take place in November 2015, in Oman.