UAE to have all online by 2012

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, announced that not only was the UAE placed in the top 10 globally for the quality of its broadband service, it is forecast that the UAE will lead the world with 100 per cent broadband penetration by 2012, while mobile market penetration had already crossed the 200 per cent mark.

Using the latest fibre optic technology which is currently being implemented by Etisalat, the ambitious plan has the capability of making the UAE the first country in the world with 100 per cent broadband penetration by the year 2012.

“I am proud of this achievement and what this initiative means for the growth of the telecoms industry, according to the TRA [UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority], spending on telecommunications this year may be the biggest ever.”

Al Mansoori was delivering the keynote address at the Mecom CEO Summit in Abu Dhabi. Top telecoms bosses from around the region have gathered to discuss the latest industry issues and examine, the leading international trends affecting next generation ICT solutions.

Underscoring the rate of progress, Al Mansoori added: “Mobile penetration [usage] rate in the UAE has now crossed 200 per cent, while household broadband penetration currently stands at 40 per cent. According to industry giants Cisco, the UAE is already in the top ten worldwide in terms of the quality of its broadband service.”

In his address at the forum, Etisalat CEO Nasser Bin Obood announced that with an average connection speed of 27.2Mbps, the UAE ranked No. 5 in the world in fastest connection speeds during Q4 2010, as ranked by a recent Akamai report.

“As per the latest report findings, UAE’s average Internet connection speed has seen a dramatically impressive 68 per cent increase in quarter-on-quarter and 309 per cent increase in year-on-year. The Internet and telecommunications sector is one of the fastest growing and technologically innovative sectors. We are committed to constantly working hard to ensure that we remain one of the most connected nations in the world,” said bin Obood.

Al Mansoori went on to say that the TRA has also predicted that the Middle East and Africa will continue to be the fastest growing market globally. “A perfect example of this is Etisalat, which is at present competing in more than 18 countries and has an estimated 100 million customers,” said Binu Pillai, Exhibition Director of IIR Middle East, the organiser of MECOM.

Speaking on behalf of the TRA, Deputy Director General, Majed Al Mesmar, commented: “In 2010, the telecommunications sector contributed 5.5 per cent towards the UAE’s GDP. Collectively, Etisalat and du shared 11 million mobile subscribers, 1.6 million fixed telephone subscribers and 1.4 million Internet service subscribers generating over Dh24b.”

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