MENA internet traffic to grow six-fold by 2019- study

The number of users in the MENA region is expected to reach 425m by 2019, a new study by Cisco forecast



Internet traffic in the Middle East and Africa region is estimated to grow six-fold between 2014 and 2019, according to a new study by Cisco.

The company revealed that internet traffic in the region is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 47 per cent by 2019 with the number of networked devices forecast to reach 2.1bn by that year, up from 1.4bn in 2014.

Factors expected to drive traffic growth include global increases in internet users, personal devices and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, faster broadband speeds, and the adoption of advanced video services.

Cisco predicted that the number of internet users in the MENA region will reach 425m by 2019 while the number of global internet users is forecast to reach 3.9bn.

Social networking will be the most highly penetrated residential internet service in the MENA region with 176m users, or 81 per cent of total residential internet users.

Mobile phones are also expected to play a large role in networking. Almost 78 per cent of networked devices will be mobile connected by 2019, the study found.

Smartphones will account for 31 per cent (652m) of all networked devices in 2019, compared to 14 per cent (196.6m) in 2014, Cisco said. Non-smartphones will account for 38.3 per cent (818.9m) of all networked devices in 2019, compared to 68 per cent (943.6m) in 2014.

“We are entering into a very dynamic technological era and the rapid increase in connected devices will benefit a wide range of industries, including manufacturing, transportation, oil and gas, utilities, government, healthcare, sports and entertainment, education, in terms of increased efficiency, reduced costs, and, most important, improvement of the lives of citizens,” Cisco UAE head of service providers Fady Younes.

With internet traffic predicted to grow, the company also said that the businesses in the region are well-placed to advance their digital services.

Cisco’s findings follows other research that has indicated that the region’s readiness in the digital sphere.

A recent report by Boston Consulting Group rated Qatar and the UAE as the most productive and advanced internet economies in the MENA region. The report noted that both the countries faced few restrictions or constraints on digital activity, making them ideal to advance digital trade.