Fibre investments to drive growth of communications market in UAE, predicts report

The ongoing switch by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from a copper to fibre fixed-line infrastructure will be completed by 2012, enabling “significant” growth in the broadband, pay-TV and fixed VoIP sectors for the first time. The forcast comes from a report from Pyramid Research.

“As well as providing a boost to broadband revenue, the change will enable significant growth in the pay-TV and fixed VoIP sectors,” said Hussam Barhoush, senior analyst at Pyramid and author of the report. “The smaller and newer of the UAE’s two operators, du, with its limited coverage, moved completely to an all-fibre network in 2008, while incumbent Etisilat has already caught up and surpassed the new operator by covering all of Abu Dhabi, making it the first capital in the world with full fibre coverage.”

Etisalat plans to have upgraded its whole fixed network to fibre by 2012, at which point there will be notable growth in pay-TV adoption as both operators (the UAE telecoms market is a duopoly) start to bundle triple-play packages for end users.

“Due to the high income levels, fixed and mobile services have not been bundled to date; this leads to higher income for market players,” added Barhoush. “However, the fibre network will pave the way to convergence.”

In addition to this ongoing switchover to an all-fibre infrastructure, upcoming investments in LTE (such as those announced by Etisalat earlier this week) will make it imperative for market players to develop smart marketing and technical strategies to foster the upcoming growth, according to the research firm.

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