Figures released by local mobile operators Alfa and Touch, indicate that of the four million total subscribers almost 2.35 million are data users. This is equivalent to a 100 percent penetration in mobile phones and 58 percent in data usage.
Touch has 1.3 million data service subscribers, equivalent to 62 percent of its total mobile phone subscriptions. Alfa has 1.05 million subscriptions to its data services, or about 55 percent of its total mobile subscription base. Alfa said that 70 percent of its mobile phone subscribers have a smartphone. Touch has around 76 percent.
Wassim Mansour, General Manager at Touch, said that there is strong growth in data usage worldwide as well as locally. “It is not astonishing to see high data penetration rates in the local market, because the local population is tech savvy and highly educated,” he said.
Touch will be working on increasing its data users. “Nothing prevents turning our 76 percent smartphone users into actual data subscribers, and this could happen during a short phase,” said Mansour. Touch will be developing its bundled service offerings and content to drive more users.
The Ministry of Telecommunication (MoT) lowered the tariffs on mobile phone services starting June 2014.
According to Marwan Hayek, Chairman of the Board at Alfa, the number of subscribers is very good. “We believe that the number of mobile phone subscribers will keep on increasing but at a slower pace after this quick peak.”
The rapid growth in data users and high subscription rate is increasing the number of participants in the anticipated tender of the MoT aiming at appointing new network operators. Mansour said: “We came here to stay, and the local market is extremely interesting to us.”