The UAE has the world’s highest mobile phone penetration at 204 per cent according to Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA).

Competition between the two operators Etisalat and Du is now at an advanced level, away from obtaining the largest share of the mobile market to leveraging the growth in data consumption, which will help to offset the decreasing average revenue per user (ARPU).

Most telecom operators in the region have pursued regional expansion plans in recent recent years and this has enabled the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region to become the fastest-growing telecommunications market in 2011.

“The telecommunications industry has seen years of robust growth and strong financial positioning, which has enabled the telcos to lead mergers and acquisitions,” says UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansoori.

Al-Mansoori anticipates 2011 to be the biggest year for communications spending.

“One objective is to be the best and we have to be a knowledge economy with creativity and state-of-the-art technology. We are determined to achieve this goal,” he says.