Total mobile connections including active SIM cards, excluding M2M in the Arab States will reach 501 million by 2020 from 406 million in 2014.
Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen are the 18 markets across the Middle East and North Africa called the Arab States.
GSMA said mobile broadband networks will support more than two-thirds of all mobile connections across the Arab States of the Middle East and North Africa by 2020.
The growth in mobile data networks is driven by operator investments in 3G and 4G networks and rising smartphone adoption. The number of smartphones connections is forecast to almost triple to 327 million between 2014 and 2020.
Telecom network operators across the Arab States have spent more than $40 billion on capital investments (Capex), or approximately 18 percent of total revenue, over the last four years – focusing on improving network coverage, increasing network capacity, and deploying 3G / 4G mobile broadband networks.
3G networks are now live in every country in the region except one. There are 23 live 4G networks in ten countries in the region and a further eight markets will launch 4G.
The number of unique mobile subscribers in Arab States will reach 233 million by 2020, representing 57 percent of the expected population from 199 million in 2014, equivalent to 54 percent of the region’s population.
Mobile industry’s contribution in Arab States will grow to $160 billion by 2020 or 4.5 percent of projected GDP against $115 billion or around 4 percent of GDP in 2014.