Why Apple's iPhone rules in UAE; Is BlackBerry dead?

iPhone 5S is the most popular smartphone in the UAE, according to data released by TRA. (Supplied)

The iPhone 5s continues to be the most commonly used mobile handset in the UAE, followed by the iPhone 5, even as the iPhone 6 has quickly grown to become the fourth most commonly used smartphone in the UAE, the country’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has revealed today.

According to statistics for the fourth quarter of 2014 on the nation’s most popular mobile phone handsets, more than 6 in 10 (61 per cent) of handsets in the UAE are smartphones, landing the country’s residents at the cutting edge of technology.

In terms of smartphones, the iPhone 5s is the most common in the UAE, comprising 4 per cent of total handsets registered on UAE networks, a figure that increased by a massive 22 per cent during the second quarter of 2014, 6 per cent in Q3 2014, and a further 9 per cent during Q4 2014.

While both Samsung and Apple recorded an increase in their market shares in the final quarter of 2014, BlackBerry handsets disappeared from among the 15 most commonly used smartphone handsets, giving way to new entrants, Lenovo and Huawei.

Although the growth has declined, the TRA report maintains that Samsung recorded increases in its market shares in Q4 2014. In fact, all handset manufacturers witnessed increases in their market shares with the exception of BlackBerry.

For the record, BlackBerry handsets disappeared in Q4 2014 from among the 15 most commonly used smartphone handsets in the UAE. While Android remains the leading mobile operating system, the market share of iOS is steadily increasing even as the market share of RIM (the operating system for BlackBerry) is progressively declining, the TRA says.

The report illustrates that the iPhone 5 was the country’s second most favourite smartphone, with 2.4 per cent of the market share.  The iPhone 5 reversed its upward trend during the fourth quarter, when the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus hit the local market.

The third most commonly used smartphone was the Samsung S III (2.1 per cent), followed by the newly released handset, iPhone 6 (1.7 per cent), iPhone 4S (1.6 per cent), Samsung S4 LTE (1.5 per cent), Samsung Note 3 (1.3 per cent); and Samsung S5 (1 per cent).

“The report illustrates a number of interesting trends emerging in the UAE’s mobile handset market. It also demonstrates the dynamic nature of consumer patterns in relation to handset choices,” said Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of the TRA.

In the smartphones segment, the iPhone 5s recorded an increase in market share from the third quarter of 2014 and continued to be the most commonly used handset in the UAE in Q4, 2014. During Q4, 2014, other smartphone handsets that witnessed increases in market share include the iPhone 6, Samsung Note 3, and Samsung S5, the TRA noted.

Handsets whose market shares have declined include Samsung S III, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, and Samsung S4 LTE. Blackberry handsets disappeared in Q4 2014 from being within the 15 most commonly used smartphone handsets in the UAE.

The report indicates that 40 per cent of all handsets registered on UAE networks were manufactured by Nokia, although this figure has been declining over time; the percentage decreased by 5 per cent during the last two quarters and by about 12 per cent during Q4, 2014 alone.

This was followed by Samsung (24.3 per cent), Apple (11.4 per cent), BlackBerry (5 per cent), Sony (1.2 per cent), HTC (1.2 per cent), then the newly emerged manufacturer Lenovo (1.2 per cent) and Huawei (0.9 per cent).

In terms of specific handset models (including non-smartphone handsets), the iPhone 5s was the most popular mobile handset in the UAE in Q4. The Nokia 105/1050 was the second most popular handset followed by the iPhone 5.

Here’s the full list

#1 iPhone 5s             4%

#2 Nokia 105/105      3%

#3 iPhone 5                2.4%

#4 Nokia 101/1010      2.3%

#5 Nokia 1280/1282     2.1%

#6 Samsung S III          2.1%

#7 Nokia E5                 1.9%

#8 iPhone 6                  1.7%

#9 iPhone 4S                 1.6%

#10 Nokia X1                  1.5%

#10 Samsung S4 LTE       1.5%

#12 Samsung Note 3       1.4%

#13 iPhone 4                    1.2%

#14 Samsung S5 LTE        1%

#15 Samsung S4               0.8%

Without exception, the market share of all feature phones including the 105/1050, Nokia 101/1010, Nokia X1, E5, and 1280/1282 declined during Q3 2014 and continued to decline in Q4 2014, the TRA said.

The report also provides information on the most popular mobile operating systems used in the UAE.  Android was the most commonly used operating system in the UAE as of Q4, 2014, while the use of Symbian has been declining over time.

The market share of iOS is steadily increasing while the market share of RIM (the operating system for BlackBerry) is progressively declining.

During the period from August 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014, users of smartphones and fixed Internet services in the UAE visited various applications websites.

Apple iTunes was by far the most commonly visited applications website, followed by Samsung Apps, Nokia OVI, Android Applications and finally Blackberry App World. The number of visits to BlackBerry and Nokia applications websites has been declining over time while the volume of visits to Apple iTunes and Samsung has been progressively increasing.

In terms of social media, UAE smartphone and fixed Internet users made a total of 16 billion visits to social networking websites during the period August 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. Visits to Facebook accounted for 91 per cent of total visits to social networking sites, followed by Twitter with 6.6 per cent of visits, then LinkedIn, Maktoob and MySpace.

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