Over 2m new mobile phone users in 2012

More than two million mobile phone users joined the UAE market in the first 11 months of 2012, the largest annual increase since the second largest Arab economy introduced GSM services two decades ago, according to official data.

Analysts said the surge was caused by attractive offers by etisalat and du as the country’s sole two service providers pushed ahead with a battle to grab a bigger share of the lucrative market in the UAE, one of the richest nations.

Figures by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which manages the telecom sector in the UAE, showed the number of mobile phone subscribers soared by more than two million to peak at 13.75 million at the end of November.

The increase pushed up the GSM penetration ratio to one of its highest levels of 168 per cent at the end of November against 155 per cent at the end of 2011.

The UAE, with a population of around 8.2 million, has one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates in the world given its high per capita income, relatively affordable telecom facilities, and advanced GSM services offered by the providers.

Analysts said another factor is a trend by many mobile phone users, mainly Emiratis, to change their handsets frequently and opt for more sophisticated features.

 

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