Connectivity Is King in Egypt

“If you had to escape a fire, what is the one thing you would take with you?”

There was a time when answers varied from family photos to money. An obvious shift in priorities became apparent when more people starting answering this question with ‘mobile phones.

Over the years this sentiment continued to spread, though it’s not necessarily ‘mobile phone’ now, rather any connecting or smart device. Frankly, that would be the smarter option to go with considering the virtual world we now live in, or could do so. From cloud services to online banking and voice over IP services, you’ve got everything you need via a smart device and a good connection.

Nielsen studies related to connectivity in Egypt* show that if all features fail, people just want good telephone connectivity and continuous access to the Internet.

In the world of marketing there is an age-old belief about a product’s adoption cycle. It starts with early adopters (or innovators) and ends with late adopters. In other words you know a product or trend has reached its full bloom when those considered late adopters start taking part.

In this case, the ‘Silver age’ (55+ years old) fall into the category of late adopters. Even those who are limited in terms of financials and education adopted new technology and the Internet faster than the older generations.

For the longest time, Internet penetration in Egypt rose steadily; the same can be said for smart devices. The leading penetrating category was and remains to be the youth.

Majority of Urban Internet users are between 15 to 35 years in Cairo, mainly belonging to C1 & C2 SEC. Smartphone penetration amongst the same age range reached around 64% in 2014, with a higher than total average rate amongst the C1 class at 60%.

The year 2014 though witnessed the beginning of an important turning point in Egypt. If matters continue at the same rate technology and connectivity will reach its full bloom very soon.

Despite the fact that connectivity penetration is slightly short of 50%, the late adopters are starting to take on the connectivity trend at an unusually high frequency. Forty-five percent of internet users who are older than 55 years of age have started using the internet only during the last year.


Marketing in the field of telecommunication and technology is no easy feat.

The youth will always dominate in Egypt especially that they account for a third of the population. Telecom providers are sparing no cost at targeting ‘the bulge of the revenue source’, but are they missing out on the unseen?

The first matter to tackle is sustainability; what’s beyond the ‘right now’? It is elemental for telecom providers to stay relevant. The youth who are targeted today with flexible and unlimited options will eventually move to a new age bracket, bringing about with it changes in their priorities. When they do, will the telecom provider of their youth consistently deliver on their new needs?

Secondly is identifying the ‘untouched’ areas of opportunities; in other words, making the late adopters a profitable segment. The general challenge of this segment is usually connecting the dots between the need to invest and the return on that investment. It’s becoming apparent through the studies Nielsen has conducted recently that this is a hurdle that is soon to be overcome – but then we go back to the point of relevance, are the existing offerings relevant to the Silver Age? Simply, the time to target them is now.

Authored by: By Sarah Kambiz, Associate Director, Technology Industry Group, Nielsen

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