Middle East Telecoms to Catalyze Mobile Start-Ups to 2018

As Smartphones Reach 75 Percent of GCC Mobile Market, Strong Demand for Local Mobile Solutions to Solve Challenges in Daily Lives

DUBAI, United Arab EmiratesMiddle East telecoms will catalyze mobile start-ups over the next three years, industry experts announced today at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2015.

Emerging markets like the Middle East are taking a larger role in the mobile start-up and small- and medium-sized enterprise ecosystem, according to the GSMA Intelligence report “Financing Innovation”.

However, with only 15 percent of pre-seed and seed investment in ICT going to emerging markets, start-ups face challenges in business models, business skills, and lack of local investors.

“As smartphones become increasingly affordable and become near-universal in the GCC by 2018, telecoms – which already operate the mobile networks and understand their customers – will be key in catalyzing mobile start-ups to enhance daily lives, and support job creation and economic growth,” said Sherif Hamoudah, Head of Strategic Industry – Telco, SAP Middle East and North Africa.

Demonstrating the strong potential for mobile-oriented start-ups in the region, smartphones now make up 75 percent of total phones shipped in the GCC, with wider smartphone shipments in the Middle East and Africa up 300 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to market research firm IDC. The UAE alone hosts a smartphone penetration rate of 78 percent, according to market researchers Nielsen.

“While the Middle East is posting strong smartphone growth, it is alarmingly underserved for local mobile solutions that address daily needs in banking, healthcare, education, and boosting career skills,” added Sherif Hamoudah. “Cloud-based mobile solutions will be critical, as they provide the flexibility and scalability to reach a rapidly-growing audience of smartphone users.”

SAP has played a key role in helping the wider Middle East region’s telecoms transform their services to boost the competitiveness of start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Telecoms across the Middle East are increasingly becoming certified to host and provide SAP cloud solutions in enterprise resource planning, the SAP HANA business suite, mobility management and security, business applications, and Big Data analytics.

On the back end, several telecoms have enhanced customer service and project collaboration with SAP’s network life-cycle management solutions, and Human Resources processes and employee productivity with SAP’s SuccessFactors cloud-based Human Capital Management software.

Further supporting telecom innovation is the recently-launched SAP S/4 HANA, the next generation real-time business suite that helps organizations to “run simple” in the digital and networked economy, and is specifically designed for mobile devices.

About SAP
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