UAE and Qatar are ranked sixth and seventh respectively in the world in 2015 by Ovum’s Broadband Development Index (BDI), which measures the adoption of fast broadband services, giving each country a score of up to 500 for mobile broadband and the same for fixed broadband.
The UAE has a combined fixed and mobile broadband BDI score of 682 out of 1,000 for 2015, while Qatar’s score is 681. Those scores put the UAE and Qatar ahead of the US and Canada, which are ranked eighth and tenth respectively with scores of 669 and 612.
South Korea is the highest-ranked country in the BDI for 2015, with a score of 945. South Korea is followed in the rankings by Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and Andorra, as Ovum states.
Additionally, the number of FTTx connections, for high-speed fiber-based fixed broadband, in the Middle East will increase from 3.8 million at end-2015 to 6.4 million in 2020, according to Ovum forecasts.
As data connectivity in the Middle East increases, operators and others in the region are also diversifying by developing new, digital services including mobile advertising and video as well as applications for smart cities, Machine to Machine (M2M), and the Internet of Things (IoT).
Further growth in broadband connectivity in the Middle East is expected, Ovum says. At several operators in the advanced Gulf markets, more than 20% of mobile subscriptions are already based on LTE devices, and Ovum forecasts that the number of mobile LTE subscriptions in the Middle East will rise from 28.7 million at end-2015 to 156.1 million in 2020.
“Major Middle East operators are focusing their energies on new activities in the digital sector, ranging from developing IoT services to investing in technology start-ups, and these activities will become increasingly important to the future of the regional industry,” said Matthew Reed, practice leader for Middle East and Africa at Ovum.