Advanced Search Advanced Search Site map Contact us Print Version
  Home: Newsroom : Connect Arab Summit 2012

Statistical Factsheet

2G Mobile

  • Mobile-cellular subscriptions: tremendous growth across the region, with an estimated 23% CAGR over the last 5 years (2006-2011), making it the second fastest growing region in the world, only surpassed by Africa.

  • Kuwait, Libya, Oman and Saudi Arabia have some of the highest mobile penetrations in the world, exceeding 150% by end 2010.

  • By end 2011, the Arab States overall had some estimated 97 mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, putting the region ahead of Asia Pacific and Africa. Mobile penetration rates vary greatly within the region, from below 10% in Somalia, to 188% in Saudi Arabia.

  • Qatar has two mobile-cellular operators (QTel and Vodafone Qatar), both of them offering 3G services in addition to traditional 2G services. The country has a relatively high mobile-cellular penetration rate: 132% by end 2010, well above the mobile penetration rate in all Arab States (88%).

  • In Qatar, mobile-cellular subscriptions have grown at a high rate, in line with the overall growth experienced in the region (27% annually over the period 2005-2010 in Qatar, compared with 30% in the Arab Region as a whole).

3G Mobile

  • 3G networks are providing mobile broadband Internet access in all Arab States except Algeria and Yemen, where mobile broadband services are limited to some specific locations. However, fixed wireless broadband services are offered in these two countries through WiMAX.

  • In Qatar, mobile broadband services were first launched in 2006 by QTel. Since 2009 Vodafone Qatar has also been offering mobile broadband.

  • The upcoming mobile broadband technology to be deployed in Qatar is LTE, an evolution of 3G. QTel completed a trial phase in July 2011 and announced a plan to progressively roll-out LTE in the country.


  • At the end of 2011, the Arab States overall had reached an estimated Internet penetration of 29.1%, compared to 34.7% globally. This places the region ahead of Africa (12.8 %) and Asia & Pacific, where Internet penetration in 2011 was estimated at 27.2%.

  • In Qatar, Internet user penetration stood at 81.6%, well above the world average and above the Arab States region average of 29.1%.

  • While the Arab States' 2011 Internet user penetration lies below the world average, the Arab States have a relatively high annual growth rate in terms of Internet usage. Between 2006 and 2011, the region’s Internet user penetration increased by an average of 22% annually, compared to 31% in Africa and the CIS, and 21% in Asia & Pacific, and 8% in the both Europe and in the Americas. During the same period 2006-2011, Internet user penetration in Qatar grew by 23% annually.

  • There are major differences within the Arab States, with Internet penetration in 2010 varying from below 5% in Mauritania and Somalia, around 50% in Morocco, to around 80% in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – a level comparable to many European countries.


  • By the end of 2011, fixed (wired) broadband penetration had reached an estimated 2.2% in the Arab States, compared to 6.2% in Asia & Pacific, 15.5% in the Americas and 25.8% in Europe. Fixed broadband penetration is well below the world average of 8.5%. By the end of 2010, only the United Arab Emirates had reached fixed broadband penetration levels above 10%. This compares to over 30% penetration in some of the most advanced broadband economies of the world.

  • Within the Arab States, Qatar, at 8.2%, had the second high level of fixed broadband penetration at the end of 2010 - close to the world average of 8.5%.

  • By the end of 2011, active mobile broadband penetration had reached an estimated 13.3% in the Arab States, compared to 10.7% in Asia & Pacific, 30.5% in the Americas and 54.1% in Europe. Mobile broadband penetration stood below the world average of 17%.

Information for editors: There are a total of 21 countries in ITU’s Arab States regional grouping: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen1.

All data above should be sourced to ITU. More ITU statistics can be found at:

ITU's ICT Data and Statistics (IDS) Division is one of the world’s most respected and authoritative sources of comprehensive, impartial global data on the ICT sector. Data are sourced directly from governments, and collected through an annual questionnaire. The indicators/statistics published by ITU are used in a wide range of UN and inter-governmental publications, such as the UNDP Human Development Report, the World Bank World Development Indicators, and the United Nations Statistical Yearbook.

1 For the ITU BDT regional classifications, see:



Top -  Feedback -  Contact Us -  Copyright © ITU 2018 All Rights Reserved
Contact for this page: External Affairs and Corporate Communication Division
Updated: 2018-05-23