Qatar has the highest mobile phone and broadband penetration rates in the Middle East, according to a recent study.
Euromonitor International’s new country briefing report, “Technology, Communication and Media: Qatar” shows that mobile phone penetration in Qatar has grown 37.7 percent in five years.
Euromonitor International is one of the leading independent providers of business intelligence on industries, countries and consumers. Its information is compiled from a variety of sources including national statistical offices, private industry, trade associations and Euromonitor’s own primary research.
The study on Qatar attributes the continuous growth in mobile phone and broadband services to the high purchasing power of consumers here, which is proven by the level of consumer expenditure on telecommunications equipment and services, which is one of the highest in the Gulf region.
Despite lack of competition, Qatar’s fixed-line market has continued to expand due to growth in Internet usage. The study said 44.5 percent of Qatari households possessed a broadband-enabled computer by the end of 2009, up from 6.8 percent in 2004.
This places Qatar well ahead of other GCC countries on broadband penetration in 2009, with Bahrain (26.6 percent house holds with broadband connection), Kuwait (26 percent), UAE (18.8 percent) and Saudi Arabia (8 percent) lagging behind.
Household possession of telephones also experienced growth from 86.4 percent in 2004 to 88.2 percent last year.
The number of telephone lines in use also increased from 191,000 lines in 2004 to 274,600 lines in 2009.
According to the study, the mobile phone market has continuously grown and the country enjoys one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the Middle East despite the lack of liberalisation. Qatar was the last country in the region to introduce competition in the mobile telephony market, which came in July 2009 when Vodafone launched its mobile phone services.
Euromonitor International also said Facebook was the fourth most popular website in Qatar, with 160,000 active users in August, according to data supplied by the social networking website which represents more than 34.7 percent of Qatar's total internet users. By comparison, about 20.5 percent of UAE, 20.3 percent of Kuwaiti and 11 percent of Saudi internet users were Facebook users in 2009.
The position of Twitter among the 100 most visited websites in Qatar suggests a growing interest for micro-blogging activities over traditional blogging. However, internet usage in Qatar is generally hindered by the lack of Arabic content, as well as censorship, according to the report.
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