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Predictions for Middle East and North Africa

The technology investments of the past two years will bear fruit in the telecommunications markets of the Middle East and North Africa in 2006. According to a new IDC Insight, the continued increase in demand for telecommunications services and greater availability of both broadband and mobile access have contributed to the market's development.

Moreover, the increasing number of countries moving towards liberalization and privatization will bring new players to the market and usher in an era of mergers and acquisitions, new licenses, and major financing deals.

"This in turn will fuel competition, causing the region's markets to grow not just in terms of size but also in terms of the variety of services and solutions available to consumers and businesses," said Mohsen Malaki, senior program and consulting manager, MEA region.

"None of this would be possible without the substantial investments made in 2004 and 2005 by fixed and mobile operators into broadband, mobile network expansion and upgrades, Internet data centers, and internal and regional expansion. Coupled with the loosening of market restrictions, these moves have laid the foundation for diverse market developments in 2006."

Increased availability of broadband will spur investment in local and regional bandwidth-rich content. This will in turn encourage gradual growth in the number of regional ISPs, which will utilize one of the region's two major Internet exchanges (Emirates Internet Exchange, Cairo Internet Exchange) or one of the newly launched exchanges (Bahrain Internet Exchange, Saudi Internet Exchange, Jordan Internet Exchange).

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