The number of internet users has risen rapidly from a penetration rate of 68 percent in 2010 to 91 percent at the end of 2015 according to the International Telecommunication Union.
However, the major telecom companies are either fully or partially owned by state-owned, resulting in high prices, weak competition, and consumer unfriendly practices, such as the blocking of popular Vo IP services.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of the world’s most connected countries.
Close ties between the government and telecommunications companies may be a reason for consumer-unfriendly practices, such as restrictions on Voice-over-IP (Vo IP), rampant censorship, and pervasive surveillance.
Self-censorship is pervasive on social media and state-run news sites generally refuse to cover controversial issues.
Seeking to improve connectivity within the country, the country’s two internet service providers—Etisalat and Du—have launched their own carrier-neutral international internet exchange points, Smarthub and Datamena, respectively.