Digital transformation investments in the Middle East, Türkiye and Africa (META) are projected to more than double between 2021 and 2026, with spending expected to reach over $74 billion by 2026, according to the latest forecast of the International Data Corporation (IDC). This surge in investment, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16%, highlights the region's increasing focus on digitalization, which is set to account for 43.2% of all ICT investments in 2026.
With the widespread adoption of transformative technologies like 5G and IoT across the region, industries such as connected vehicles, logistics and smart cities are experiencing a surge in international opportunities. Organizations in the META region are now putting their digital and tech investments to the test across various business dimensions, including customer experience, operations and fiscal management.
Recognizing the accelerating pace of digitalization in the region, China Mobile International (CMI) has introduced iConnect ONE, a cutting-edge service model customized to empower operators in the region’s rapidly evolving digital landscape. By leveraging CMI's extensive network infrastructure and global resources, carriers can scale up their operations and meet the growing demand for enhanced connectivity and expanded service portfolios.
Streamlined Services for Agile Business Management
CMI's iConnect ONE — Omni Network Enablement — serves as a comprehensive platform that streamlines services and offers tailored solutions to meet the evolving demands of carriers in the Middle East.
This one-stop-shop approach provides convenient access to global roaming, data connectivity, 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) offerings and other value-added services (e.g., clearing, VoIP and digital content platforms), empowering carriers to expand their reach and capitalize on new revenue streams while optimizing costs. Through the iConnect Customer Portal, carriers can efficiently manage their daily operations, access business insights and leverage professional consulting services.
By outsourcing operations to iConnect ONE, carriers can lower costs, enhance their offerings and focus on their core competencies while still providing a comprehensive suite of services to their customers. For example, CMI’s viable IoT business model, such as IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity), is necessary to support and facilitate the ongoing development of IoT roaming.
Extensive Global Network and Unparalleled Support
CMI's extensive global network serves as a strong backbone for delivering a wide range of capabilities through iConnect ONE. With over 230 points of presence (PoP) worldwide and investments in numerous submarine and terrestrial cables, CMI offers customers unparalleled connectivity and the ability to capitalize on global business opportunities.
The recent launch of the Oman Muscat MC1 PoP further strengthens CMI's network infrastructure in the region. Located in the operator neutral Equinix MC1 data center, the MC1 PoP will connect multiple submarine cable systems such as 2Africa and IEX, connecting Asia, Europe and Africa. This strategic expansion positions CMI as a regional hub for seamless connectivity to major global markets and customers, particularly in Oman, which plays a crucial role as a network hub bridging Asia, Europe and Africa.
As a leading provider of data center, cloud and IoT solutions, CMI boasts extensive computing network resources globally. Notably, CMI is the sole Asian operator investing in the record-breaking 2Africa submarine cable project. Designed to be the longest subsea cable ever deployed, 2Africa will revolutionize international connectivity by linking Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia, serving approximately 3 billion people and representing 36% of the global population. Together with CMI’s SEA-ME-WE 5 and AAE-1 subsea cable resources, the cable system will further extend connectivity to China and Southeast Asia. This investment further solidifies CMI's position as a key player in delivering seamless and robust connectivity on a global scale.
Accelerating Digitalization Through Collaboration
CMI is committed to driving digitalization globally. Through strategic collaborations with local operators, CMI is providing innovative solutions for their end customers and helping them tap into the immense potential of 5G technology.
Earlier this year, CMI announced a strategic partnership with Zain Omantel International (ZOI) aimed at advancing Machine-to-Machine (M2M), Internet of Vehicles (IoV) and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies across the Middle East. This collaboration brings together the expertise and resources of two industry leaders, leveraging CMI's technical capabilities and ZOI's extensive global network and wholesale industry knowledge.
CMI has also joined forces with du, a subsidiary of Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company PJSC, in a strategic partnership focused on promoting the Internet of Vehicles in the UAE. The collaboration aims to provide support to Chinese automobile manufacturers entering the UAE market, leveraging CMI's expertise and du's local market presence.
Furthermore, CMI and Saudi Telecom stc have signed a memorandum of strategic cooperation to strengthen the connectivity of IoT applications and enhance the level of digital services. This partnership highlights their shared commitment to driving digitalization and delivering innovative solutions in Saudi Arabia.
With extensive experience and successful deployment of 5G networks, CMI is well-positioned to drive the digital transformation of the industry. By collaborating with local operators and introducing innovative solutions, CMI aims to accelerate digitalization in the Middle East, enabling carriers to unlock new growth opportunities, strengthen their market position and contribute significantly to the ongoing digital revolution in the region.