Al-Ahram Weekly Online   18 - 24 October 2012
Issue No. 1119
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Smart market

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YOUNG consumers aged between 16 to 30 years are driving growth for smart phones in Egypt, according to a recent study by TNS Egypt, a market research company.

The TNS Mobile Life study revealed that mobile market penetration in Egypt has reached 90 per cent, while smart phones ownership in Egypt is 19 per cent, which is lower than other MENA markets where it reaches 46 per cent and 30 per cent globally.

"Entertainment and communication features are the most used features among consumers in Egypt," said Tamer Al-Naggar, TNS CEO of North Africa, in a statement. Al-Naggar emphasised that mobile phones played a tangible role during the revolution, helping Egyptians to communicate amongst themselves and with the outside world and giving protesters a sense of ownership over the events.

The mobile is used by 86 per cent for SMS messaging, and for entertainment features such as taking photos by 58 per cent, videos by 44 per cent and listening to music by 52 per cent, according to the study.

Currently, according to the study, due to low income levels, the penetration of smart phones is relatively shallow, which affects the growth of data revenues. Operators largely depend on voice revenues, said the study. But as smart phone penetration increases usage of data-based services will increase, which will allow for immediate growth.

The study recommended smart phone awareness and ownership rates should improve through the availability of low-cost smart phones to trigger strong market demand.

According to the TNS study, 99 per cent of consumers in Egypt prefer pre-paid plans, while 64 per cent of Egyptian consumers do not have a data package. Some 11 per cent use the pay-as-they-go data bundle.

"The telecom sector in Egypt continues to be dominated and driven by the prepaid market," added Al-Naggar.

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