Arab Advisors Group
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SMS-based services in the Arab World: A key testing ground for the future of Wireless Internet in the region.
Tuesday, August 7, 2001

The latest trends report by Arab Advisors Group analyses the SMS market and SMS-based business models in the Arab World.

August 07, 2001 -
SMS-based services present tangible and solid opportunities for revenue and profit generation in the region, notes the Arab Advisors Group in a recently concluded research report. SMS-enabled services are more attractive to deploy and exploit than newer Wireless Internet technologies: Unlike 2.5 G services for the wireless Internet, SMS-based services do not require any substantial infrastructure deployment since the operators already offer the service. Furthermore, the existing handset base is already SMS enabled, which gives SMS an immediate edge over other services like WAP.
The Arab Advisors Group (, is a specialized research and consulting company focusing on telecommunications, Internet, and technology markets of the Arab World. The report, entitled "SMS in the Arab World: An Overview" examines the wireless Short Messaging Service (SMS) markets in the Arab World. The report, which was released to Arab Advisors Group's Strategic Research Service Subscribers, provides a comprehensive overview on SMS in the region and analyses the wireless providers of SMS as well as other business ventures opening up to exploit the service further.
Arab Advisors Group primary research in the ten markets examined reveals that the combined cellular penetration of these countries reached 7.4% (more than 12 million GSM users from a total population of more than 162 million people). The ten markets examined are Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The UAE had the highest cellular penetration at more than 52% at yearend 2000 while Algeria had the lowest at 0.32%.
"The strong growth in the Arab GSM markets will continue. It will be fuelled by prepay service and the introduction of competition in major markets, not least of which the Algerian market whose dismal penetration level will surely be reversed when the market gets the second GSM operator within the coming year". Sarah Alalul, an Arab Advisors Group analyst said.
The report also sheds light on SMS applications in the region analysing each one of them in detail. These applications include Simple Person-to-Person Message, Notifications, SMS Chat, SMS-based Information Services, Ring Tone Downloads, and Corporate Email among others.
The Arab Advisors Group points out in report that the combination of SMS messages and prepay dealt the deathblow for the struggling paging services in the region. Cost-conscious prepay users resort to SMS service to effectively "pagerise" their GSM handsets!
The report also includes case studies of companies aiming at exploiting the potential of the SMS services market. These include Info2Cell, MENAFN and Yalla Wireless, among others

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