Three quarters of GCC mobile phone users prefer prepaid plans
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Three quarters of GCC mobile phone users prefer prepaid plans

Three quarters of GCC mobile phone users prefer prepaid plans

Study says 70% of those surveyed in UAE favour prepaid mobile plans


Prepaid mobile is the preferred option for 76 per cent of GCC phone users, according to a new study by Ding, a global mobile top-up service.

The report says 81 per cent of mobile phone users in Qatar, 76 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 70 per cent of those surveyed in the UAE favour prepaid mobile plans.

Those surveyed said prepaid plans are ideal for controlling expenditure (28 per cent) as well as suiting their needs better (31 per cent). In comparison, only 32 per cent of US respondents said they use prepaid mobile.

The lockdowns and travel restrictions have restricted physical reunions with loved ones, making the need to communicate virtually more important than ever before. Ding says it has seen close to a 50 per cent annual uptick in prepaid transactions during 2020 on its platform, with customers either topping up their phones or sending airtime to others.

Read: Apple leads in global smartphone shipments in Q4 of 2020: IDC

The appetite for prepaid products is not limited to mobile phones – Saudi Arabia has the highest prepaid market size, with 95 per cent of those surveyed having engaged in at least one facet of the prepaid economy, including mobile bills, financial products, other bill payments like utilities, or gift cards/vouchers. In Qatar, this stands at 91 per cent and 90 per cent in the UAE. The majority of these users (76 per cent in the GCC) are engaging in prepaid mobile bills with 51 per cent covering other bills prepaid.

“The Global Prepaid Index has revealed the importance of prepaid products for GCC consumers and our research shows that prepaid products are preferred across the economic divide – which goes in some way against the long-held assumption that many were choosing prepaid options out of necessity rather than choice,” said Mark Roden, founder and chief executive of Ding.


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