DUBAI: The provision of internet protocol television (IPTV) services in the Arab world is set to take off as a growing number of operators plan to take advantage of the spread of broadband in the region.

A new report from Arab Advisors Group, part of the Arab Jordan Investment Bank Group, looked at the IPTV services available by October 2013. IPTV in the Arab World 2014 found 14 service providers in nine countries. This marked an increase from 11 in eight countries at the end of 2011.

The nine countries currently offering IPTV services were Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The study noted that the Gulf region was in the forefront of this development, as the adoption of broadband triggered demand for 'triple play' services – internet access, digital TV and phone through a single line.

In Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Telecom Company had seen its IPTV subscription base jump 76% in the year to September 2012, while the UAE and Qatar had also recorded strong growth. Ooredoo in Qatar registered a 177% increase over the same period, albeit from a low base.

Six other countries across the region – Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Mauritania and Tunisia – were reported to be engaged in projects to upgrade legacy networks and install fibre-optic cables

"As broadband internet adoption expands in the Arab world, IPTV becomes a viable option for entertainment," said the author Rawan Awwad, a research analyst at Arab Advisors, in remarks reported by AME Info.

"The competition among IPTV service providers within the same country pushes its offered features into frequent upgrades and improvements, which makes the user's TV viewing experience more flexible and interactive," she added.

Data sourced from Arab Advisors Group, AME Info; additional content by Warc staff