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GSMA Report Reveals Mobile Drives Unprecedented Growth In Arab World

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the GSMA published its first in-depth assessment of the impact of the mobile industry on the Arab States 1, highlighting the explosive growth of mobile services in the region. Based on research from Deloitte, the GSMA Arab States Mobile Observatory 2 details strong regional market competition and falling handset prices, fuelling a 32 per cent average annual growth in mobile connections over the past 10 years, soaring from 19 million connections in 2002 to 391 million in 2012.

While highlighting the extraordinary development of the region over the past decade, the report identifies fundamental challenges that put the continued growth of the sector at risk, including limited spectrum availability, high taxation and stifling regulation.

"Mobile communications in the Arab States have transformed society and fostered substantial growth in investment, innovation and productivity," commented Tom Phillips, Chief Government and Regulatory Affairs Officer, GSMA. "However, there are far greater opportunities that the mobile industry can deliver for the region. Governments need to take action now to increase spectrum availability and stabilise the regulatory environment if they want to continue the momentum and realise mobile's full potential."

Economic Impact of MobileThe rapid pace of mobile adoption has delivered substantial economic benefits for the region, directly contributing US$ 132 billion to the economies of the Arab States, or approximately 5.5 per cent of total GDP, in 2011 3.

In addition to the economic value, the mobile industry has contributed to employment in the region. The full-time employment created across the Arab States as a result of the availability of mobile technologies is estimated to have been more than 1.2 million jobs in 2011.  This figure represents a combination of direct employment by mobile operators, jobs across the mobile ecosystem and the multiplier effect caused by the positive business impact of the mobile ecosystem on wider industries, further boosting job creation. If additional harmonised spectrum were allocated to mobile broadband, 5.9 million additional jobs could be created by 2025, according to the study.

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