The smartphone adoption figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 8 percent to reach 587 million smartphone connections by 2025, which will constitute just under 75 percent of connections in the MENA region.
The UAE stands only behind Singapore when it comes to smartphone adoption, with mobile devices accounting for 85 percent of total connections, according to new statistics from GSMA Intelligence.
According to the data, the number of smartphone connections in the MENA region stands at 332 million as of the second quarter of 2018, accounting for over half of the total connections in the region.
The figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 8 percent to reach 587 million smartphone connections by 2025, which will constitute just under 75 percent of connections in the region.
The report also noted that 5G networks – which will be launched as commercial networks from 2019 – will account for 16 percent of the total connections for the GCC markets.
“Backed by proactive government support, mobile operators, particularly in the GCC states, have been quick to establish the foundations for global leadership in the deployment of 5G technology, moving rapidly from trials to early commercialisation,” said GSMA chief regulatory officer John Giusti.
Giusti added that “while we are encouraged by their progress to date, it is imperative that the region’s governments create a regulatory environment that allows 5G to flourish, including releasing sufficient spectrum, so that businesses and citizens can fully enjoy the innovative new services that 5G will deliver, as well as the resulting socio-economic benefits.”
The statistics also indicated that there are currently 381 million unique mobile subscribers across the MENA region, which represents about 64 percent of the population. In the GCC alone, however, an average of 77 percent of the population are mobile subscribers.
In economic terms, the mobile industry was found to have contributed $165 billion to the MENA region’s economy in 2017, equivalent to 4 percent of GDP. The figure is expected to increase to over $200 million by 2022.