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Who is buying all those mobile phones?
According to information released by the TRA, the number of mobile phone users in the country has increased by 7 percent in the last six months ending February.
May 12, 2009 1:18 by Aarti Nagraj
The number of active mobile subscribers in the UAE has increased from 186 percent of the total population in September last year, to 193 percent at the end of February 2009, says the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). While operator Du’s share in the market increased from 26 to 28 percent during the time period, Etisalat saw a drop from 74 to 72 percent.
Kipp has struggled to find reasons why this could be happening. After all, we’re experiencing a financial crisis. So why are people buying more phone lines? Is it that the population is increasing? We can accept people talking more during the current economic situation, but why are they buying new phone lines?
After a lot of brain storming, and some reading, we came up with just two theories. Here they are:
1. Some need two mobiles
The different types of PDAs have managed to lure quite a few business professionals into their snare. After buying a PDA, many people keep their old lines (maybe for old times’ sake, or to have a number for personal use); and so it is possible that these devices led to an increase in the number of mobile users in the country.
2. Some want three
We suspect the region has people who like to carry around a few mobile phones in their purses/pockets. Why? Maybe just to show off, or to own the very latest model. Or perhaps they have a phone fetish.
And of course, if you own a phone like Givori’s AED16,300 Nefertiti phone, you will certainly need another phone to use; the Nefertiti phone features “true vintage 1930’s collectables made in England, and 24 karat gold coated Swarovski crystals.” Apparently, no two phones are the same.
That was the best that we could come up with. You could argue that rising competition between du and Etisalat have caused the growth; but if that was the case, a user is likely to switch between them.
If you have any other explanations, do let us know.
In the meantime, here’s an example of the meticulousness of our local press:
The TRA press release mentioned above accidently cited the mobile users figure for September 2008 as “182 percent”, instead of 186 percent. The release however said that the numbers had increased 7 percent to 193 percent in February this year. This means, that the rise should have been 11 percent rather than 7 percent.
However, two major papers didn’t bother checking the numbers, and published the wrong figures on Monday. No clarifications so far.