BY OUR BUSINESS BUREAU
ABU DHABI: The forecast is made by project database company Proleads and comes in advance of the eagerly anticipated Middle East Communications (MECOM) exhibition and conference which takes place at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from May 25 to May 27.
MECOM brings together the region's major operators and service providers to provide a major platform for multi-million dollar deals and partnerships throughout the region.
The showcase is the region's only dedicated communications for enterprise trade show, which will also host leaders of the top telecommunication companies and regulators throughout the Middle East and Africa.
The Proleads forecast for communications hardware capital expenditure covers all six Gulf Co-operation Council countries - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- and shows the UAE accounting for the lion's share of infrastructure demand for materials such communications cabling.
The UAE forecast amounts to almost $3.3 billion (Dhs12 billion) of the total.
The forecast also indicates that mixed use civil projects will account for the biggest proportion of communication hardware expenditure in the period at around $2.95 billion. Residential development will account for a further $674 million and commercial developments such as airports, offices, hotels, railways and retail for about $577 million.
"The continued growth of information technology and communications infrastructure continues to be a major element in the development of the region in spite of slowdowns in other sectors," said Ed Malkoun, Group Exhibition Director of IIR Middle East, organisers of MECOM 2009.
"On a worldwide basis, fixed broadband internet lines have reached 1.1 billion -- only one sixth of the world's population," he added. "Regional figures are still low as Saudi Arabia, the biggest market, has a penetration of only 4 per cent.