With over 400 million subscribers, penetration rate of cellular services in MENA stands at over 100%

22 Jan 2018

By end of March 2017, mobile operators in eighteen Arab countries had more than 400 million cellular lines, translating into a penetration rate of over 100%. The penetration rate dropped by 0.76% compared to yearend 2016, mainly due to the high saturation in the markets, and increased regulations of line registration in some countries. A new report from Arab Advisors Group analyzes and ranks cellular operators in the Arab World in terms of a number of Key Performance Indicators.

By end of October 2017, a total of 62 cellular operators served the Arab World. The market has witnessed both the entrance and the exit of operators over the past year.  Jordan’s MVNO, Friendi, exited the market in March 2017, leaving Jordan with 3 cellular MNOs. While on September 18, 2017, Telecom Egypt started its cellular operations and became the first fully-integrated operator in Egypt under the name “WE”.

A new report,A Scorecard of Key Performance Indicators of Cellular Operators in the Arab World was released to the Arab Advisors Group’s Telecoms Strategic Research Service subscribers on November 23, 2017. This report can be purchased from Arab Advisors Group for only US$ 1,750. The 46-page report, which contains 30 detailed exhibits, provides a comprehensive analysis of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the mobile operators in the Arab World. The KPIs are for the year 2016 and March 2017. The report covers 45 operators in eighteen countries: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE and Yemen.

Please contact the Arab Advisors Group to get a copy of the report's Table of Contents.

“Prepaid services dominate the Arab cellular markets. By end of March 2017, 10 operators had prepaid subscriber bases of 90% or more. Arab Advisors Group believes that the rapid growth in cellular line bases in the Arab World is clearly due to the increasing appeal of prepaid offers.” Ms. Hiba Rabadi, Senior Research Analyst at Arab Advisors Group stated.

“The cellular market in the Arab World is well ahead of the fixed line market. In 2016, Mauritania had the widest gap between the size of the mobile market and the fixed line market, with a cellular-to-fixed line penetration ratio of 72.” Ms. Rabadi added.

Arab Advisors Group’s team of analysts in the region has already produced over 4,900 reports on the Arab World’s communications, media and financial markets. The reports can be purchased individually or received through an annual subscription to Arab Advisors Group’s ( Strategic Research Services (Media and Telecom).

To date, Arab Advisors Group has served over 900 global and regional companies by providing reliable research analysis and forecasts of Arab communications markets to these clients. Some of our clients can be viewed on