Industry Thought Leadership

Connectivity Outlook in 2024: Soaring Bandwidth Consumption Expected in the Middle East

December, 2023
Imran Malik
SVP, Enterprise & Cloud, EMEA & APAC


In the four years prior to June 2023, bandwidth consumption in the Middle East grew at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of just over 30%. Three big drivers fuelling this growth are: 5G, cloud migration and the increasing demand of customers on the move. Many of the applications being used are latency sensitive. Historically, this sensitivity has limited the ways in which satellite could help.

This is no longer the case. With the launch of O3b and O3b mPOWER satellites operating in medium earth orbit (MEO) by SES, Luxembourg-headquartered provider of satellite services for enterprises, broadcasters and governments, satellite is capable to serve even the most latency sensitive applications. Equally important, given the ever-increasing bandwidth consumption, is the high capacity offered by O3b mPOWER, coming into service in 2024.

Led by the Gulf countries (UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar), 5G rollout has accelerated in the Middle East. Earlier this year, SES and du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company) demonstrated 5G backhaul via SES’s O3b constellation. This proved that O3b can extend du’s 5G coverage to remote and offshore locations. With O3b mPOWER, du will be able to serve enterprise customers like offshore oil and gas platforms.

As the amount of data handled by enterprises and governments increases, many of them are migrating that data to the Cloud. Gartner predicts that by 2027 over 70% of enterprises will use industry cloud platforms (up from 15% this year) to handle and accelerate business initiatives. The Middle East is no exception to this migration. PwC found 85% of Middle Eastern companies surveyed have already implemented cloud platforms in at least one area of operation. Anticipating this move to the cloud, SES joined forces with Microsoft Azure in 2020 to provide a managed service, enabling operators and enterprises to process data and scale operations directly in the cloud.

In the UAE, e& is hosting an O3b mPOWER and Microsoft ground station at Ras Al Khaimah to facilitate a one-hop connection to Microsoft’s Azure cloud from remote sites, enabling companies in the region to accelerate digitisation plans.

The days when being on a flight or cruise meant disconnecting from work and entertainment are long gone. Passengers expect the same connectivity when traveling as they get in the office or at home. But it’s not just passengers; always-on connectivity is also a must for aero, cruise and maritime operators to bring efficiencies in their fleet operations. Connectivity allows these operators to optimise their business operations in real-time. SES is already a leader in providing connectivity to the cruise industry.

SES is well-positioned to serve the Middle East thanks to the ubiquitous connectivity delivered by its unique multi-orbit fleet of MEO and Geostationary (GEO) constellations. Additionally, the strategic local partnerships fostered by SES in the region and a consistent strong financial performance mean SES can easily elevate the level of connectivity services.