What makes LTE monetization different in MENA from the rest of the world?
Within the MENA region, the current state of the LTE market varies hugely from country to country. As of April 2013, all the GCC states had commercially deployed LTE. Yet, some of the emerging markets in the MENA region – particularly those in North Africa – have yet to deploy 3G.
However, the growth of LTE in the Middle East and Africa is set to outstrip any other region in the world. Cisco’s 2013 report predicts that the number of 4G connections in the region will grow from over 3.6 million in 2013 to more than 86 million in 2018.
For any market considering deployment of an LTE network or even if it’s established, there seems to be a common question – what are the advantages of an LTE network and how can the network be monetized?
Throughout the region there are still numerous challenges that need to be overcome.
The advanced markets of the region, the GCC states, are looking for the killer service that is going to drive revenue back to the operator, and in the MENA region, operator-produced content, contrary to other parts of the world, has real potential to dominate the market.
This is because the main global content providers don’t have such presence in the region due to religious restrictions, and as such there is potential for operators to provide strong competitor products to boost revenues. Operators are looking for ways they can differentiate their service offering and avoid a price war. Operator produced content and OTT partnerships might be a new way for operators to compete within the market.
The business opportunity for LTE in emerging markets is very different and some markets are just beginning to consider an LTE rollout. Operators are looking at how they can finance the move to LTE and how LTE networks can be deployed in the most cost effective way, to ensure a swift ROI once the network is up and running.
While operators are still being coy about their plans at this stage, strategies being considered to ensure this swift ROI include making LTE services accessible to less affluent markets through shared tariffs and packages as part of device sharing schemes. Also operators are looking at affordable pricing structures to encourage subscribers in the short term.
The LTE MENA conference in Dubai this May, will look at monetizing LTE in from both the advanced and emerging market perspective. The event will also consider the technical challenges of LTE rollout and expansion and will cover topics such as; Backhauling and small cells, Network Virtualisation, Roaming and Spectrum Management, Public Safety LTE, Future of LTE, Handling Traffic Growth, Signaling, and the Device ecosystem.