“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, underlining 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 region at the GSMA. “This improvement was driven particularly by increasing mobile network quality and the availability of more locally relevant mobile apps and social media content.”
Progress on Delivering a Global Mobile Internet Platform
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.
GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index scores, UAE v regional/global averages (2016)
|UAE||MENA region (average)||Global
|Mobile internet adoption enablers:|
|Overall Mobile Connectivity Index score||72||58||59|
|Mobile internet subscribers||7.5m||210m||3,500m|
|Mobile internet penetration (% of population)||78%||38%||48%|
Source: GSMA Mobile Connectivity Index
Measuring Market Foundations for Mobile Internet Adoption
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 per cent of the world’s population. It measures markets on each of the four key enablers and produces an overall composite score, which reflects the the strength of the foundations to support widespread adoption of the mobile internet. The four key enablers are:
The Mobile Connectivity Index allows users to explore in detail the performance of individual countries, compare countries against each other, and investigate the different dimensions and indicators that feed into each of the enablers. The free-to-use tool is accessible at www.mobileconnectivityindex.com.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.