80% of UAE mobile users have Internet access

By Eudore R. Chand

UAE adds half million new mobile users as Internet subscribers

DUBAI 12 October 2017: The UAE has added some 500,000 new Internet subscribers – from mobile users – resulting in almost half of the UAE population with access to the Internet on their smartphones.

The UAE added around half a million new mobile internet subscribers between 2014 and 2016, which means that almost 80 per cent of the country’s population is now using mobile devices to access the internet.

“This underlines the UAE’s position as one of the most advanced markets in the world in terms of mobile internet adoption,” said Jawad Abbassi, Head of Mena at GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association). “This improvement was driven particularly by increasing mobile network quality and the availability of more locally relevant mobile apps and social media content.”

The UAE has increased its overall score on the GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index by five points over the last two years, according to new data published on GSMA Mobile 360 – Middle East and North Africa event in Dubai, said Wam.

mobile internet

The data says that between 2014 and 2016, the UAE demonstrated progress across all four enablers for mobile internet adoption as measured by the Mobile Connectivity Index: infrastructure, affordability, consumer readiness, and content. Its overall score over the two-year period increased from 67 to 72, well above the global (59) and regional (58) averages. The new data forms part of the latest edition of the Mobile Connectivity Index, and includes data on 150 countries worldwide.

Global Stats

On a global basis, the average Mobile Connectivity Index score increased six points to 59 between 2014 and 2016. At the end of last year, there were approximately 3.5 billion mobile internet subscribers, representing just under half of the global population. Improvements in the global score have been driven by the development of more relevant content in local languages, better infrastructure, particularly network coverage and quality, assisted by the availability of more spectrum, and more affordable devices and mobile data services.

However, despite progress over the last two years, more than half of the world’s population, around 4 billion people, remain offline and are excluded from the powerful opportunities for social and economic development that the mobile internet enables.

The GSMA’s Mobile Connectivity Index is designed to support the efforts of the mobile industry and the wider international community to deliver on the ambition of universal access to the internet. The index has recently been updated to include 2016 data and a range of new features, including improved indicators to measure the affordability of mobile services and the creation of content. The web tool also now offers users the opportunity to compare country scores over time.

The index now measures the performance of 150 countries, representing 98 percent of the world’s population. It measures markets on each of the four key enablers and produces an overall composite score, which reflects the strength of the foundations to support widespread adoption of the mobile internet.