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Qualitative shift in UAE mobile telecom market

|By Arabian Post Staff| UAE telecom revenue reached Dh31.9 billion in 2015, according to the country’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority’s (TRA).

Mobile revenue decreased 8.57 per cent to Dh23.34 billion in 2015 from Dh25.53 billion in 2014. UAE residents spent 31.49 billion minutes using mobile phones in 2015, up from 28.70 billion minutes in 2014.

Mobile phone subscriber base reached 17.94 million in the UAE while fixed telephone subscriber base reached 2.25 million in the UAE, a report released by the TRA last month shows. Internet service subscriber base reached 1.23 million in the UAE, while Mobile penetration rate increased to 209.80 per cent in 2015, compared to 199.3 per cent in 2014.

Average cost per minute on mobile phone has reached Dh0.74 (US 0.20)

Of the 31.49 billion minutes spent on mobile phones by UAE residents, 61 per cent or 19.2 billion minutes were spent in domestic mobile-to-mobile conversation and 11.15 billion minutes in international calls.

Smart-phone ownership in GCC has outstripped the global average, resulting in increased growth opportunities for mobile companies. With the region’s growing affinity towards mobile phones, growth opportunities for retailers have also risen.

The UAE’s mobile telecom market is undergoing a qualitative shift due to the changing socio-economic developments of the UAE, marked by a change in consumer behaviour in mobile telephony, a research based on UAE Telecommunication Regulatory Authority’s (TRA) latest report shows, while the new mobile handsets, such as LAVA A3 is helping the market expand.

“The volume of mobile subscriptions increased 7 per cent during 2015 compared to 2014 while mobile traffic increased 10 per cent during 2015 compared to 2014,” Mohammed Khizar Ulla, Head of Business – Middle East at LAVA International DMCC, says. “However, despite the growth in the mobile traffic and the number of subscribers, the total mobile revenue decreased 8.57 per cent to Dh23.34 billion in 2015 from Dh25.53 billion in 2014. This shows that the average price per minute has declined.”

LAVA International, manufacturer of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone brand, announces the launch of A3 – a smartphone to power up work and life of young, upwardly mobile consumers who are increasingly relying on power-packed smartphones.

The dual-SIM smartphone comes with dual cameras – with 13 mega pixel and 8 mega pixel – with a faster fingerprint unlocking speed. At 0.16 seconds to unlock the screen – it is a super-fast fingerprint unlocking process available in the market, beating the world’s most popular smartphones.

With starting prices at Dh799 apiece, the phone comes with a lot of camera parameters, functions, features and user experience of capturing photos, etc – idea for quick social media posts.

Of the 17.94 million mobile phone subscribers, 15.14 million are prepaid while 2.8 million are post-paid customers, the report shows.

“Interestingly, while prepaid revenues declined from 14.82 billion in 2014 to Dh11.13 billion in 2015, post-paid revenues, on the other hand, rose from Dh9.86 billion in 2014 to Dh11.79 billion in 2015,” Mohammed Khizar Ulla says. “UAE residents spent 31.49 billion minutes using mobile phones in 2015, up from 28.70 billion minutes in 2014. They spent 61 per cent or 19.2 billion minutes of the mobile phone usage in domestic mobile-to-mobile conversation while they spent 11.15 billion minutes in international calls.”

Bangladesh has been the most popular destination for foreign telephone calls. As much as 43 per cent of all outgoing calls were made to Bangladesh, followed by India which was destination for 25 per cent and Pakistan which represented 23 per cent of all outgoing calls

As much as 48 per cent per cent calls came from India in 2015, followed by Pakistan which was source of 30 per cent and Egypt which was a source for 14 per cent calls made to the UAE

“Post-paid customers spend on an average 329 minutes per month on the phone, about 281 per cent more than the 117 minutes spent per month by pre-paid customers,” he says. “Our research shows that more and more people are switching to smartphones. As much as 77.81 per cent of all handsets registered on the UAE’s in Q2, 2016, networks were smartphones, according to the TRA report issued recently.”

The UAE’s consumers are spending more time on the social media, the research shows.

“In terms of social media, UAE Smartphone and fixed Internet users made 24 billion visits to social networking websites during the period 1 April 2016 to 30 June 2016,” Mohammed Khizar Ulla says. “Visits to Facebook accounted for 90.39 per cent of total visits to social networking sites, followed by Twitter with 5.18 per cent of visits, then LinkedIn, MySpace, and Maktoob.”

Although smartphone sales growth rate is slowing down worldwide, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is witnessing an increase in sales volume in smartphone sales. Smartphone shipment in to the MENA region is estimated to have reached 171.2 million in 2016, up from 157.5 million, according to Statista.com – a global portal of statistics that collects information from 18,000 sources.

Smartphone sales value is estimated to have grown to US$42.2 billion in 2016, up from US$40.4 in 2015 in the MENA region, the portal said.

Mohammed Khizar Ulla says, due to this shift in trend, consumers would be looking at faster, cost-effective, dual sim, dual camera smartphones that comes at an affordable price. “This is where LAVA A3 phones will be high in demand as it is in line with the market trend and demand. Today, we are happy to announce that LAVA has become the fastest growing smartphone brand in the world,” Mohammed Khizar Ulla says.

The move comes a few weeks after the company launched LAVA Metal 24 smartphone – which is selling like a hot cake. The company plans to manufacture 216 million handsets per annum in the next 5-8 years.

“As the world heralds in the new year, LAVA brings one of the best smartphones with advanced features for the young and trendy consumers who needs a better work-life smartphone partner while on the move and A3 is the new partner for the global consumers,” Billy Luo, General Manager of LAVA International, Middle East North Africa. “LAVA A3 offers almost everything instantly. It is ideally suited for young professionals.”

LAVA International Limited is one of the leading global companies in the mobile handset industry today. Since inception in 2009, the LAVA family has grown to become one of the fastest growing handset companies in worldwide.

The company has operations in Thailand – where it is the market leader and offices in the UAE, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Mexico, Middle East, Russia and Egypt.

Meanwhile, Lava International has expanded its sales network across the GCC to accelerate the sales of Lava smartphones, especially the latest product – LAVA A3.

Mahommed Khizar Ulla, said, the company has tied up with major retailers for the roll-out of the mobile handset.

“We currently have a strong network across the GCC markets to sell and offer strong customer service in the region,” Khizar said. “As one of the fastest growing smartphone brands in the world, we are aware of the need for speedy customer and after sale service. That’s why we are offering value added after sales service to customers across the region.

“As we grow our sales, there will be more customer centres to offer better experience to owners of LAVA smartphones.