United Arab Emirates Telecom Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2023 - 2028)

UAE Telecom Market is segmented by services (voice services (wired, wireless), data and messaging services, OTT, and PayTV services)). The market sizes and forecasts are in terms of value (USD million) for all the above segments.

UAE Telecom Industry Overview

United Arab Emirates Telecom Market Summary
Study Period: 2018-2028
CAGR: 3.5 %

Major Players

United Arab Emirates Telecom Market Major Players

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order


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UAE Telecom Market Analysis

The UAE telecom market is expected to register a CAGR of 3.5% during the forecast period. Government initiatives and well-established policies support the region's advanced telecommunication sector.

  • The telecom sector in the UAE is under the control and supervision of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). It was established under the 2003 Telecom Law, which includes issuing licenses, enforcing regulations, promoting e-government initiatives, establishing access management policy, resolving disputes, and ensuring service quality and access equity.
  • With the growth of end-user industrial applications and markets, including IoT, cloud, data centers, and 5G, the telecom business in the UAE is expanding. Additionally, the country is seeing an increase in internet usage due to industry expansion, such as video on demand (VOD). Numerous businesses are introducing cutting-edge internet plans to fulfill the rising request for internet services and win over a large portion of the market.
  • For instance, in January last year, to address the home connectivity and digital needs of UAE families, Etisalat introduced eLife Ultra, a next-generation portfolio of home internet services. It offers fast internet speeds along with 4K and HD TV channels and various digital media advantages. While the eLife Ultra Sports include a speed of 750 Mbps, the eLife Ultra Starter only delivers 500 Mbps. The 1 Gbps eLife Ultra Fusion introduces Giga speeds inexpensively and offers the entire OSN and beIN ULTIMATE lineup.
  • Additionally, because of technological breakthroughs, innovative projects, and initiatives like the Dubai Data Strategy, Dubai 10X, Smart Dubai of the previous year, Dubai Blockchain Strategy, and Dubai Pulse Platform, among others, Dubai is positioned to become one of the world's most innovative cities. In addition, Dubai's Internet of Things (IoT) plan seeks to create the most cutting-edge IoT ecosystem to transform the city into a prototype smart city. Such measures would present the researched market with enormous development potential.
  • In addition, the region's telecom industry changed over the past five years from a growth play to a semi-defensive space due to increased financial risk, competition, and customer sophistication. By fostering fierce rivalry between local carriers Etisalat and Du, service price reductions have benefited consumers and presented the need for innovations.
  • Lockdowns and self-isolation were used as part of pandemic preparations and legislative changes. In addition to the decline in revenue from roaming services, permitting work-from-home, distance learning, and VOIP application traffic across the fixed and mobile networks decreased voice traffic and, consequently, domestic and foreign voice revenue. On the other hand, telecom service providers made considerable investments to handle the unexpected rise in data traffic demand throughout the day with shorter off-peak periods. For instance, a study by Ciena found that during the lockdown, 67% of UAE residents made more video calls to stay in touch with friends and family, 78% used social media more frequently, and 74% watched more TV and movies online.

UAE Telecom Industry Segments

The term "Telecom" or "Telecommunication" refers to all forms of voice, data, and video transmission and describes the electronic exchange of information over great distances. It includes various information-transmitting technologies and communications infrastructures, including landline, mobile, and cell phones, satellites, fiber optics, microwave communications, radio, television, the internet, and telegraphs. The growth of end-user industry applications and the increasing penetration of 5G are two drivers driving the telecom industry in the United Arab Emirates. However, it includes an issue with the average number of subscriptions per person and the notably high adoption of cell phones.

UAE Telecom Market is segmented by services (voice services (wired, wireless), data and messaging services, OTT, and PayTV services)). The market sizes and forecasts are in terms of value (USD million) for all the above segments.

Voice Services
Data and Messaging Services
OTT and PayTV Services

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UAE Telecom Market Trends

Increasing Penetration of 5G and the Advent of 6G are Expected to Drive the Market

  • The median download speed on 5G networks is among the fastest in the world, and the fixed broadband speed is among the highest. It is the outcome of recent expenditures in infrastructure that prioritized fiber over updated copper networks and 5G. Compared to all of its rivals, the UAE includes the highest Fiber to the Home (FTTH) penetration, maintaining steady leadership since 2016. FTTH reached 95.7% of homes throughout the UAE, according to the leading industry organization FTTH Council.
  • For Instance, in February last year- The successful testing of the Fibre-to-the-Room (FTTR) technology was announced by Etisalat UAE, a member of the e& - Global Technology Investment Group. The FTTR solution is a ground-breaking innovation in intelligent home networks that gives millions of UAE consumers access to improved digital capabilities. In a six-bedroom, multi-story villa, Etisalat and Huawei successfully tested the FTTR solution, showcasing the technology's enhanced customer experience.
  • In July of the previous year, Etisalat announced that it started working toward the transition to 6G, a mobile network that is expected to be 100 times faster than 5G. The advancement of new mobile technologies and features, like the millimeter frequency in 5G, complimented with the terahertz (THz) spectrum in 6G, drive the market's growth. Furthermore, in April 2021, Etisalat deployed a 5G network with Nokia as a key partner, providing enhanced mobile broadband services and expanding 5G coverage and revenue opportunities. The 5G capabilities enable innovative applications, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). It also addresses Industry 4.0 opportunities to benefit enterprises from various internet of things (IoT) use cases in energy, healthcare, education, transportation, and entertainment, thus, generating new revenue and aiding the market's growth.
  • The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) of the United Arab Emirates established a roadmap for 2016–2020 to achieve 5G deployments as soon as possible. In this regard, Nokia announced in March 2022 that it had inked a contract with Etisalat UAE, the telecoms arm of e& in the UAE, to develop 5G private wireless networks to service businesses throughout Abu Dhabi. Together, the two companies will digitally transform their business processes and adopt Industry 4.0 through 5G use cases to help organizations in various sectors, including ports, oil and gas, government, and critical infrastructure.
  • However, the Teleco companies in UAE are usually criticized for being costly and not serving up to the mark quality in their services. However, the cost is not the deciding factor, but the poor operational service can be a challenge for Telecos in UAE. Telecommunications regulations are also seen as a challenge for Teleco operators. However, according to the government, they are implemented to increase competitiveness and eliminate a few companies' monopolies to improve the quality of Telecommunication services quality.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES TELECOM MARKET - Total number of internet subscriptions, in Million, UAE, 2011 2022

Mobile is Expected to Hold a Major Share

  • As more individuals stayed home due to the epidemic, regional telecom firms saw a rise in demand for mobile and TV services. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (UAE) estimates that in December 2020, there were 186.1 mobile subscriptions for every 100 residents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), up from 181.5 in June 2020. Additionally, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority reports that as of March last year, there were around 18.7 million active mobile phone subscribers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • One of the main elements that contributed to the rise of the mobile market was the use of multiple devices per user, high replacement rates, and people switching from traditional phones to smartphones as prices fell. The telecom market in the UAE will likely benefit from this.
  • According to recent data from GSMA Intelligence, the UAE is only second to Singapore regarding smartphone adoption, with mobile devices making up 85% of all connections. By 2025, there will be 587 million smartphone connections, which will account for slightly under 75% of links in the area, growing at an average annual rate of 8%.
  • Additionally, the rapid 5G adoption is facilitated by the simultaneous development of mobile broadband and smartphone subscribers and the proliferation of hardware and software. Additionally, the fifth generation of mobile commerce services is expected to be introduced in the nation by the TRA (Telecommunications Regulatory Authority).
  • The market is, however, saturated in more recent years. The country's economy is severely hit by the current low price of crude oil, reducing consumer purchasing power. This situation is accompanied by a comparable slowdown in smartphone sales in the nation as the market approaches saturation.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES TELECOM MARKET - Total number of active mobile phone subscriptions, in UAE, 2011 2022

UAE Telecom Market Competitor Analysis

The UAE telecom market is consolidated, with key players, such as Etisalat, du, Thuraya Telecommunications Company, Al Yah Satellite Communications, and Virgin Mobile UAE, occupying most of the market share. Also, individual players are deploying the 5G network by partnering with various 5G infrastructure providers globally.

  • March 2022 - Emirates Telecommunications Group Company PJSC, currently known as e&, purchased a 9.8% interest in Vodafone for USD 4.4 billion. Days earlier, e& claimed it was trying to expand into new regions in Africa, Europe, and Asia and into industries other than telecommunications, such as financial technology, to spur development.

UAE Telecom Market Top Players

  1. Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunication Group Company PJSC)

  2. Thuraya Telecommunications Company

  3. Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat)

  4. Virgin Mobile UAE

  5. Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du)

*Disclaimer: Major Players sorted in no particular order

United Arab Emirates Telecom Market - Market Concentration.png

UAE Telecom Market Recent Developments

  • March 2022 - Finnish telecom equipment manufacturer Nokia announced an agreement with Etisalat UAE to roll out 5G Private wireless networks for businesses around Abu Dhabi. Enterprises can choose from a variety of solutions that the firms will provide, including Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), Modular Private Wireless (MPW), and Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (DAC).
  • March 2022 - e&, a telecom provider in the UAE, partnered with the US tech giant Microsoft to foster innovation and provide clients with more tech-focused goods. The collaboration aims to quicken value generation, innovation, and progress for the benefit of customers.

UAE Telecom Market Report - Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions and Market Definition

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Market Overview

    2. 4.2 Industry Attractiveness - Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.2.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.2.2 Bargaining Power of Buyers/Consumers

      3. 4.2.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.2.4 Threat of Substitute

      5. 4.2.5 Intensity of Competitive Rivalry

    3. 4.3 Assessment of Impact of COVID-19 on the Market

    4. 4.4 Regulatory Landscape in UAE


    1. 5.1 Market Drivers

      1. 5.1.1 Increasing Penetration of 5G

      2. 5.1.2 Increasing End-user Industry Application

    2. 5.2 Market Restraints

      1. 5.2.1 High Penetration of Smart Phones and Average Number of Subscriptions Per Person


    1. 6.1 Services

      1. 6.1.1 Voice Services

        1. Wired

        2. Wireless

      2. 6.1.2 Data and Messaging Services

      3. 6.1.3 OTT and PayTV Services


    1. 7.1 Company Profiles

      1. 7.1.1 Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunication Group Company PJSC)

      2. 7.1.2 Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du)

      3. 7.1.3 Thuraya Telecommunications Company

      4. 7.1.4 Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat)

      5. 7.1.5 Virgin Mobile UAE

      6. 7.1.6 Swyp

      7. 7.1.7 Sirius Telecom

      8. 7.1.8 3w networks

    2. *List Not Exhaustive


**Subject to Availability
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UAE Telecom Market Research FAQs

The United Arab Emirates Telecom Market market is studied from 2018 - 2028.

The United Arab Emirates Telecom Market is growing at a CAGR of 3.5% over the next 5 years.

Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunication Group Company PJSC), Thuraya Telecommunications Company, Al Yah Satellite Communications (Yahsat), Virgin Mobile UAE, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) are the major companies operating in United Arab Emirates Telecom Market.

United Arab Emirates Telecom Industry Reports

In-depth industry statistics and market share insights of the United Arab Emirates Telecom sector for 2020, 2021, and 2022. The United Arab Emirates Telecom research report provides a comprehensive outlook of the market size and an industry growth forecast for 2023 to 2028. Available to download is a free sample file of the United Arab Emirates Telecom report PDF.

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