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[March 23, 2014]
High data packages are stumbling block for growth [Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)]
(Gulf News (United Arab Emirates) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dubai: The stagnant smartphone demand in the UAE is due to the slow uptake of data packages when compared to the neighbouring countries and the only stumbling block is the high data packages in the UAE, industry expert said.
"Telecom operators can play a bigger role in boosting the demand for smartphones by lowering the prices of data packages," said Hamza Saleem, senior telecom analyst at research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).
"Standard data roaming bundle for 1GB is Dh500 per month while the standard Blackberry bundle is Dh285 and the average data roaming package is Dh200," said Hany Aly, executive vice-president, enterprise business at du.
According to IDC, total handset sales in the UAE are expected to grow by 6.66 per cent this year to 3.2 million units, compared to three million last year.
In 2015, the market is expected to grow by a mere 3.13 per cent.
Data prices in the UAE are still the "highest in the Middle East and Africa region. Africa has the lowest data prices in the region and Egypt has the lowest rate in the whole of North Africa," he said.
Etisalat offers 1GB data package for Dh99 and du charges the same data package for Dh100 in the UAE. Qatar Ooredoo charges 1.5GB for 25 Qatari riyals (Dh25.22) while Omantel charges 1GB for 5 Omani riyals (Dh47.55). Etisalat Egypt charges 1.25GB for 25 Egyptian pounds (Dh13.16).
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