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Telecoms insights for the Middle East and North Africa: Volume II

Karim Yaici Senior Analyst, Research
Tom Rebbeck Research Director, Operator business services and IoT
John Abraham Principal Analyst, Research

"Welcome to the second edition of Analysys Mason's newsletter for the Middle East and North Africa, which provides insight into the telecoms market in the region."

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Telecoms insights for the Middle East and North Africa Volume II

The second edition of Analysys Mason's newsletter for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) features five articles that showcase our experts’ views on a range of topics that are relevant to operators in the region. The first edition of this newletter can be found here.

Over-the-top video services. STC’s subsidiary and regional media aggregator, Intigral, launched ‘Jawwy TV’ in Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 2018. This was an unprecedented move by a regional telecoms operator. We discuss STC’s rationale for launching an OTT video service and explain how the operator can support its expansion plans.

Enterprise services. Operators in the Middle East emphasise the growing importance of business revenue to offset the limited growth in core connectivity revenue, but their activity does not appear to match their ambition. We look at the contrast between operators’ enterprise activity in the Middle East and that in other high-income regions and argue that operators should do more to respond to the forthcoming enterprise revenue gap.

Digital customer experience. Many operators in the Middle East and Africa have made progress in digitalising customer experience, but their motivation is different from that in other parts of the world because of the limited penetration of digital natives such as Amazon and Netflix. In this article, we present the latest learnings and insights from our digital experience research in the Middle East and Africa.

Artificial intelligence (AI). Most operators in the Middle East are taking a low-risk approach to their AI strategy. They appear to be less inclined to expand the use of AI to applications beyond those related to customer care. We argue that operators should continue to make progressive and selective investments in AI to improve customer experience and should learn from the more-mature AI roadmaps of global operators.

IoT/M2M services. Only a few telecoms operators in the Middle East have LPWA networks that are commercially ready despite the numerous announcements made since 2016. If operators are serious about commercialising LPWA solutions, they will need to learn from more-advanced markets to improve their IoT strategies and address emerging-market opportunities.