What’s behind the growth of mobile digital content in the Middle East?

Juan Jose De La Torre, VP of Strategy & Corporate Development and Meghali Sharma, Competitive Intelligence Analyst at Intigral take a deep dive into the Middle Eastern mobile digital content market, and uncover the driving forces of its rapid growth.

The Middle Eastern telecommunications market is going through a transitional shift demonstrated by changing business models on the back of high smartphone penetration rates and a slow down in revenue growth. The business reality is that telco customer engagement models are evolving from subscriber acquisition to customer retention and now to customer experience management (CEM). This is because there is an evolving customer preference for data oriented services over traditional voice calling or mobile value added services (MVAS).


The modern mobile customer is influenced by a “connected culture” brought upon by growth of smart devices and availability of high-speed mobile broadband. Consumers’ need to remain connected, informed and entertained continually, changing consumer consumption patterns and increasing demand of digital content has proven to be insatiable, thus creating a whole new set of VAS consumption behaviours – leading to the rise of digital mobile services both regionally and globally. Let’s explore some of the main factors contributing to the growth of digital mobile content in the region.

Rising Adoption of Smart devices

Uptake of “Smart” devices with high processing capabilities, large interactive touch screens, and desktop-like applications experiences are gaining traction in the region, especially among young and affluent customers. The region is now getting a lot of attention from vendors such as Nokia and Samsung who are working to “smart” up even the entry level devices and introduce feature rich smartphones at affordable price points. These smartphones when coupled with affordable data access plans are whetting consumers’ appetite for digital content and applications. Smartphone penetration in Middle East stood at 14.3% in 2012, which is expected to increase to 41% by the end of 2017.