x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Many UAE residents do not use smartphone advanced features

The UAE has one of the highest levels of smartphone ownership in the Arab world - yet many people do not use the many advanced features they offer.

DUBAI // The UAE has one of the highest levels of smartphone ownership in the Arab world - yet many people do not use the many advanced features they offer.

Sixty-one per cent of mobile phone owners here have smartphones, compared with 55 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 51 per cent in Kuwait, according to a new report.

However many owners use only the basic functions - voice, text and photos - and never use the device to browse the internet, download music and video or send and receive email.

"Research in multiple countries indicated that among those owning or with access to a smartphone more than one in five did not use their device to connect to the internet," says the report from consultancy firm, Deloitte.

The authors compare this practice to luxury kitchens used only to make toast or a supercar used only for the school run.

"Owners of high-end smartphones - as with owners of any high-end product - may purchase these devices because of their build quality, or because of the cachet that comes with ownership, rather than because they necessarily want to exploit the range of their functionality," they add.

The report - Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2013 Middle East - was launched in Dubai this week.

The researchers say the next-generation mobile data standard known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) is being rolled out across the Middle East this year. It offers lightning-fast broadband speeds, and Etisalat and du have launched networks in the UAE.

But the report says operators across the region are using a variety of frequencies for the service, which means travellers will not be able to use their phones' LTE capabilities in some territories.

Paul Lee, a research director at Deloitte, said: "I don't think there is a single phone that supports all these frequencies now, so roaming with LTE will be difficult."

csimpson@thenational.ae