UAE users talking up a storm on their mobiles
Telecoms customers in the Emirates are talking more, texting less, and increasingly not shy when it comes to complaining about the service they receive, according to a survey of the country’s market by its industry watchdog.
The Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) yesterday released its third annual review of the telecoms sector, which reveals a number of eye-opening facts about the calling, surfing and texting habits of the country’s residents.
The country’s residents certainly think it’s good to talk - they spent 22.8 billion minutes, or almost 16 million days, on the phone last year, and there are now two active mobile lines for every person in the country.
However, the TRA survey found that the number of texts sent in the UAE decreased by 10 per cent between 2010 and 2011, falling to 2.9 billion. The latter trend could be a result of the rise in the popularity other services such as WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger.
But while traffic is increasing in a number of areas of the telecoms industry, so are the number of complaints by UAE customers. The TRA dealt with a total of 980 complaints last year - a hefty 74 per cent increase on the 563 it fielded back in 2010.
The enduring importance of the industry to the UAE also emerges in the latest figures - it accounted for 4.9 per cent of the UAE economy last year, and directly accounts for almost 11,000 jobs.
The shift towards mobile devices continues - while revenues from fixed line phones were down 10 per cent to Dhs2.8 billion year-on-year, mobile revenues were up 8.3 per cent to Dhs19.9 billion dirhams last year.
That’s over six times the landline total. Overwhelmingly UAE customers prefer to pay for their calls up front - prepaid subscribers account for 88 per cent of accounts.
When it comes to who they’re calling, calls to India now account for one-in-five calls made to other countries, with India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Egypt collectively accounting for more than half of all
outgoing international calls.
It may be struggling internationally, but it appears that Research in Motion’s BlackBerry still rules the roost in the UAE - as of December last year, there were a total of 858,000 BlackBerry subscribers across the country.
The report also reveals that the UAE now has 1.3 million internet subscribers and that revenues rose 21.5 per cent last year as users ditched dial-up for more advanced, and expensive, broadband services.