The UAE has the fastest Internet speed in the Arab World, according to a report by networking firm Akamai.
Akamai’s quarterly State of the Internet report ranked the UAE 28th globally. The average Internet speed in the UAE was 6.2 Mbps in Q1 2013, up 32 percent compared to last year.
Akamai handles about one-third of the world’s Web traffic. In a similar context, Google recently set a record handling 25 percent of US traffic.
South Korea came on top of the list with an impressive average Internet connection speed of 14.2 Mbps, followed by Japan (11.7 Mbps) and Hong Kong (10.9 Mbps). The global average Internet speed was 3.1 Mbps, up 17 percent from last year.
Broadband adoption across surveyed EMEA countries remained extremely strong in the first quarter of 2013.
Switzerland led both the EMEA region and the global rankings by having the highest broadband adoption rate, with 88 percent of the connections to Akamai from the country at speeds above 4 Mbps, while the UAE recorded 62 percent. Meanwhile for connections above 10 Mbps, the growth for UAE was 13 percent.
Internet charges higher in the UAE
Despite UAE being the top with regards to Internet speed, the charges are much higher compared to other developed countries.
As of 25th July 2013, Etisalat’s eLife Bundle offer with TV (TV+Broadband+Landline) for individuals, the monthly charges starts from US$ 82 (AED 299). In comparison, Time Warner’s Internet service in the US costs just US$ 20 (AED 74).
Etisalat’s BusinessOne Super Unlimited Package (40 Mbps downstream/10 Mbps upstream) the charges start at US$ 543 (AED 1995), and for 100 Mbps unlimited package the monthly charges starts at US$ 979 (AED 3595) – both without a monthly contract, while a similar Internet package (50 Mbps downstream/5 Mbps upstream) costs just US$ 75 (AED 275) per month for Time Warner‘s Internet service.
The state of ICT in the UAE
The UAE ICT sector is one of the advanced markets in the Arab World. The UAE leads the world in terms of mobile penetration rates reaching over 200 percent by the end of 2009, as well as sector readiness and regulatory environment.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) of the UAE recently published its fourth TRA Annual Sector Review. The report summarizes the state of the fixed, mobile, and data telecommunications markets in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in terms of subscriber numbers, penetration rates, revenues, and service usage (i.e. traffic volumes) for the period from 2009 to 2012.
UAE’s telecom sector continued to thrive particularly in 2012.
According to the TRA Annual Sector Review:
- UAE had almost 2 million fixed line subscriptions
- Active mobile subscriptions continued to grow reaching 13.8 million by the end of 2012
- UAE has one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the world
- Revenues generated by mobile services grow to over AED 20.4 billion
- Mobile phone usage increased by 5.6 percent during 2012
- The number of Internet service subscriptions reached around 958,000
- The total revenue generated by internet services increased by 15.2 percent in 2012
Subscription trends are towards high speed broadband packages and the contribution of the telecommunication sector to UAE Gross Domestic Product (GDP) now stands at 5 percent.