Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Mobile broadband in Saudi Arabia: Mobily pass 1m subs but average usage only 50MB/month

I just saw this report that Saudi mobile operator Mobily had just reached 1m mobile broadband customers. In a country of 30m people that's an impressive feat. Furthermore that represents a four-fold increase (almost) on the subs base at the end of 2008. Tariffs aren't cheap either, with the cheapest option costing USD27/month for 1GB, up to USD94/month for an unlimited bundle.

Usage levels seem to be relatively low. According to the Zawya report, traffic for December 2009 stood at 50 terabytes, which equates to just 50MB per user. So either there are lots of inactive users or internet usage is very light in KSA, which would indicate that the vast majority of users are on the lowest tariff and there is very little use of peer-to-peer file sharing.


  1. Hi Matt,

    Mobily is also planning to implement LTE in coming years. Do you think the existing network is not able to support the kind of data which is used by the current subscribers.


  2. At only 50MB/customer I'd say HSPA is easily capable of dealing with the requirements. LTE is really about providing capacity where there is substantial concentrations of traffic and I can't imagine that would be the case anywhere in Saudi where the population is well distributed, even in urban areas. It's more about coverage in KSA and HSPA should be plenty good enough there.