The number of mobile phone users in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is expected to reach almost 850 million in 2017 with an annual growth rate of 77 percent, according to a recent report issued by Cisco that forecasts Global Mobile data traffic between 2012 and 2017.
Cisco says the increase in mobile traffic is mainly due to the yearly strong growth in mobile internet connections and the growing dependence in the region on mobile phone usage.
Mobile phone users in Egypt to have reached almost 81.7 million by the end of the year 2012, according to the Egyptian government.
Nigeria ranks first among countries in the MENA region in the number of mobile phone users with almost 110 million users, according to the latest subscription statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Cisco's report explained.
Cisco also reports that business mobile data traffic grew 69 percent for the year 2012. The report forecasts that business will account for 12 percent of MENA's mobile data traffic in 2017, compared to 19 percent at the end of last year.
By 2017, the report expects that global mobile data will outpace global fixed data traffic by three times.
Egypt has three mobile operators: Etisalat Egypt, Mobinil and the Egyptian unit of Vodafone; with a fourth state-owned operator expected to offer its services later this year.