[zawya] The UAE had more than 11 million mobile phone subscribers at the end of February, pushing its penetration rate close to 200 per cent, one of the highest rates in the world, official figures showed on Wednesday.
Internet subscribers also exceeded 1.4 million while landline users stood at around 1.7 million at the end of February, showed the figures by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.
In a report marking the May 17 international telecommunications day, the Department highlighted the steady expansion in the UAE's telecom industry and the surge in penetration rates despite its rapid population growth rates.
"The UAE's drive in this respect resulted in a leap in telecommunications and IT user indexes, registering 199.3% mobile penetration rate by February 2011, 63.2% internet user rate, and 30.6% of landline users for the same month."
It noted that many international studies and research published recently confirm that the UAE, the second largest Arab economy, is well-positioned amongst the top regional and international IT and telecommunications developed countries, leading the Arab nations according to the Global IT and Telecom Report issued by International Economic Forum for the last three years.
The UAE topped Arab countries in the global network readiness index for the same period to become amongst the world's best five countries in network readiness, the report said.
"This highlights the success of the public and private sectors as well as individuals to adopt and implement IT and telecommunications, and it is in line with the outcomes of the UAE IT and Telecommunications survey."
It showed the UAE came in the world's 24th position according to the 2011 Global IT and Telecommunications Report, one degree behind the position it held in 2009 and 2010. It said the retreat does not reflect a setback to development efforts in IT and telecommunications but shows that some countries elsewhere were able to grab a higher rate of growth last year.
"However, the UAE is expected to take a better position in 2011-2012, especially with all areas located within Abu Dhabi City are now fully covered with fibre optic network (FTTx), which made Abu Dhabi the first capital in the world to be completely covered with this network," it said.
The report said the FTTx project is planned to cover the whole UAE by end of 2011, making it the first country to be fully covered with this network.
"All such positive signs indicate that the IT and Telecommunications sector in the UAE will experience a leap in the coming years, fueled by the Government's huge support and rapidly-growing expenditures in this sector. investments in IT and telecommunications sector are expected to grow 15% in 2011, to reach Dh 18.4 billion against Dh16.1 billion in 2010," it said.
"Such a growth rate coincides with the country's efforts to invest in It and telecommunications related applications such as space technology. Abu Dhabi is gearing up to launch its second satellite, Ya Sat, by end of this year, following its launch of pilot first satellite. The Dubai-based Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) will launch its second satellite in the last quarter of 2012....all those indicators highlight the ever-growing and important role played by IT and telecommunications sector in the UAE in building knowledge-based and competitive economy that is fueled by excellence and creativity. Besides, the sector is doomed to transform the country from the regional leadership into global competitiveness."
UAE IT and Telecommunications Indexes (February 2011)
Number of landlines
Penetration rate of landline (for 100 people)
Mobile phone statistics
Mobile Active Subscribers
Penetration rate (for 100 people)
Mobile users- prepaid
Subscribers via landlines
Broadband subscribers (for 100 people)
Internet users (for 100 people)
Source: Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
UAE has 11m mobile phone users