Apple tops UAE smartphone registrations, but Nokia still commands overall market

Smartphones dominated mobile phone device registrations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the fourth quarter of 2013, figures from the country's telecoms regulator show.

The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said 51 per cent of handsets registered on UAE networks between October 1 and December 31 2013 were smartphones. The proportion of smartphones registered was up 10 per cent annually, with 5 per cent of the growth coming in the fourth quarter alone.

Apple's iPhone 5 was the most registered smartphone during the fourth quarter, accounting for 3 per cent of all mobile phones in the country. Samsung's SIII was in second place with a 2.6 per cent share, and the iPhone 4S came third with a 2.3 per cent share.

The BlackBerry Bold 9900 and Samsung Galaxy S Duo tied in fourth place with a 1.7 per cent market share apiece.

Apple's iTunes topped application website visits by smartphone and fixed internet users, the TRA figures show. Out of a total of 2.3 billion sites visited, iTunes accounted for 84 per cent of visits, compared to 6 per cent for Samsung Apps. Users also made 11.5 billion visits to social networking sites during the fourth quarter, with Facebook taking the lion's share (84 per cent), followed by Twitter (13 per cent).

Nokia still dominates the UAE's total mobile phone market--combined feature and smartphone registrations--despite the feature phones that comprise the bulk of its sales becoming the minority devices during the fourth quarter.

The TRA said 51.5 per cent of all handsets registered in the country in the period were manufactured by the Finnish vendor, leaving it well ahead of second-placed Samsung (17.9 per cent), despite a gradual decline in Nokia's share. BlackBerry placed third (9 per cent), and Apple fourth (8.4 per cent).

His Eminence Majed Almesmar, deputy director general for telecommunications at the TRA, said the report "provides an interesting snapshot of the UAE's mobile handset market which has very distinct characteristics in terms of consumer adoption.

"It also reflects a dynamic ecosystem in which both feature phones and smartphones are emerging as the future growth engines of the telecommunications industry," he said.

For more:
- see this TRA release

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