IPTV flourishes in GCC countries

Rebecca Hawkes | 07-02-2014

Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) expansion in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE has triggered increased demand for IPTV and other broadband services, says a study from Arab Advisors Group.

By October 2013, 14 IPTV services were being offered in nine countries in the Arab world, compared with 11 in eight countries at the end of 2011, researchers found. IPTV services are now found in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. IPTV projects are also reportedly underway in Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia.

Saudi telecommunications company STC increased its IPTV subscription base by 76% in September 2013, compared with the corresponding period of 2012, while subscribers to the triple-play services provided by Qatar's Ooredoo (previously QTel) rose to 88,398 in September 2013, from 31,873 at the end of 2010 177% growth.

"As broadband Internet adoption expands in the Arab world, IPTV becomes a viable option for entertainment. By October 2013, there were 14 service providers in nine countries in the Arab World offering commercial IPTV services. Moreover, there are ongoing or planned projects by service providers and/or governments in six other countries," said Rawan Awwad, research analyst, Arab Advisors' Group.

"The competition among IPTV service providers within the same country pushes its offered features into frequent upgrades and improvements, which makes the user's TV viewing experience more flexible and interactive," she added.