The Communication services in the Middle East and North Africa: trends and forecasts 2018–2023

This report provides an outlook on the mobile communication services market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), including country views for Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It provides forecasts for voice and messaging services provided by both mobile network operators and over-the-top (OTT) providers.

THIS REPORT PROVIDES:

  • forecasts for operator services including VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling and IP messaging, as well as traditional voice and messaging services
  • quantification of the level of substitution from traditional services to OTT alternatives
  • user and traffic forecasts for communication services, including OTT voice and messaging
  • an outlook for multi-device usage across smartphones, tablets and PCs/laptops
  • detailed forecasts for Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

5.Executive summary
Executive summary
Worldwide trends
Worldwide: 72 trillion OTT IP messages were sent in 2018; this is 12 times the number of messages that were sent using SMS
Worldwide: 80% of smartphone users were active on OTT messaging apps in 2018; the penetration of these apps will slow down in the coming years
Worldwide: the OTT communication market is heading towards saturation; Facebook’s future revenue growth will come from enhanced user monetisation
Worldwide: smartphones will continue to be the dominant communication devices, but the use of emerging devices will increase
Worldwide: strategic responses from operators vary significantly in different regions
Worldwide: operators are migrating smartphone users to VoLTE services; nearly 3.5 billion VoLTE subscribers are expected by 2023
Worldwide: many operators are rolling out Wi-Fi calling, primarily to improve indoor coverage; the roll-out of Wi-Fi 6 will further increase its adoption and usage
Worldwide: the number of RCS users is growing rapidly as operators worldwide are rolling out the technology on Android devices
Regional trends
Middle East and North Africa: OTT services will dominate the messaging space and there is little appetite for operators to compete
Middle East and North Africa: legacy voice services will continue to dominate, but VoIP will represent a persistent challenge
19.Country-level trends
Morocco: operators were able to limit the native to OTT voice
migration by lowering their voice pricing after the lift of the VoIP ban 
Oman: the adoption of OTT messaging will accelerate, but the growth
in the take-up of VoIP services will be subdued due to regulations
Saudi Arabia: fierce competition over voice and data pricing leaves
operators with limited potential to deter OTT players
United Arab Emirates: the outlook for OTT IP messaging and voice is
strong, despite operators’ efforts to reduce the appeal of OTT apps
Forecast methodology and assumptions
Forecast outputs and definitions
Forecast methodology and assumptions
About the authors and Analysys Mason
About the authors
Analysys Mason’s consulting and research are uniquely positioned
Research from Analysys Mason
Consulting from Analysys Mason
 

List of figures:

Figure 1: Messaging traffic, Middle East and North Africa, 2012–2023
Figure 2: Mobile voice traffic, Middle East and North Africa, 2012–2023

Figure 3: Messages sent, by message type, worldwide, 2012–2018
Figure 4: Messages sent, by message type, and number of OTT messaging active users worldwide, 2012–2023
Figure 5: OTT messaging users, by device, worldwide, 2012–2023
Figure 6: OTT voice users, by device, worldwide, 2012–2023
Figure 7: Retail revenue for operator mobile voice services, by region, worldwide, 2016–2023
Figure 8: Retail revenue for operator mobile messaging services, by region, worldwide, 2016–2023
Figure 9: Active users of VoLTE services, by region, 2016–2023
Figure 10: Wi-Fi calling traffic and number of service users, worldwide, 2016–2023
Figure 11: Traffic and users for all mobile operator messaging services, worldwide, 2012–2023
Figure 12: Messaging traffic, Middle East and North Africa, 2012–2023
Figure 13: Mobile voice traffic, Middle East and North Africa, 2012–2023
Figure 14: Messaging traffic by message type, Morocco, 2012–2023
Figure 15: Messaging traffic by message type, Oman, 2012–2023
Figure 16: Messaging traffic by message type, Saudi Arabia, 2012–2023

Figure 17: Messaging traffic by message type, UAE, 2012–2023
Figure 18: Overview of the main forecast outputs
Figure 19: Overview of the forecast methodology used in this report


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