Middle East and Africa ranks the lowest in terms of internet penetration. However, with the affordability of smartphones and increasing investment in ICT, the region is the fastest growing in terms of internet users. Gulf countries outstand with higher digital connectivity, while Africa faced challenges due to low digital literacy and lack of infrastructure. As digital access becomes pivotal to economic and social progress, mobile is expected to be the driving platform.
With 1.3 billion mobile telephone subscribers and 92.5% of the population covered by a mobile cellular network, mobile internet penetration has grown rapidly due to ease of access and affordability, with the region being the second fastest growing region after Asia Pacific. Mobile is to lead internet access over the forecast period driven by African markets with just five African economies adding 191.5 million new mobile internet subscribers.
Ranking fifth on the Digital Consumer Index, United Arab Emirates stands out globally leading in terms of digital connectivity. Ranking top in terms of mobile connectivity, the country is expected to retain its leading place as smart living solutions will improve home connectivity as well.
Middle East and Africa holds strong presence of regional and global service providers, with many having long-standing presence in the region. The region also holds a good mix of government-owned entities as well as private sector players, which has driven digital access and innovation in many countries. However, in many lagging economies, imbalance in the performance of these players poses challenges to faster digital access.
With availability of affordable smartphones and growing younger populations in many African economies, the challenge of lower digital literacy is expected to subside over the forecast period. As mobile-everything ecosystems; m-education, m-payments, m-healthcare drive the service economy in these countries, digital access has become pivotal to economic and social progress.
Five gulf states have launched 5G commercial services and aim to lead the roll-out of 5G globally, which is expected to improve 4G access in many regional economies. With the deployment of 5G, governments in these countries aim to offer greater provision of smart services, Internet of Things and connected experiences in retail and urban living.
If you purchase a report that is updated in the next 60 days, we will send you the new edition and data extract FREE! Home Page