BOSTON -– The social and political turmoil in the developing countries of the Middle East and North Africa is having a short-term disruptive effect on mobile communications markets, but Strategy Analytics still projects steady growth in subscriptions and revenues for the region. “Civil Unrest and Mobile Markets: The Outlook for Africa and the Middle East,” a new report from the Strategy Analytics Emerging Markets Communications Strategies (EMCS) service, forecasts mobile subscriptions continue to grow at an average rate of 3.5% per year through 2015.
Strategy Analytics research shows that the current unrest could even drive demand for communications services, particularly mobile social networking. “It is easy to exaggerate the extent to which these are ‘Facebook Revolutions,’ but the fact is that social networking will become an even more critical communications tool as the result of current events,” notes Tom Elliott, Director of EMCS.
In the short term, Strategy Analytics sees the potential for disruption to operator financing, noting that Mobinil in Egypt has deferred making a scheduled dividend payment. Additionally, the new Tunisian government has seized the assets of France Telecom’s local partner in Orange Tunisie.
“Most of the operators in the region need ongoing investment to grow their networks and roll out new services. These are not circumstances that fill investors with confidence,” says Phil Kendall, Director, Strategy Analytics Wireless Operator Strategies service.
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