Egypt's Communications Ministry said Thursday it had launched the first Internet domain name using Arabic letters to try to boost e-services and the number of people online in the most populous Arab nation.

Introducing Arabic domain names is a milestone in Internet history, Communications Minister Tarek Kamel said in a statement.

This great step will open up new horizons for e-services in Egypt. It will boost the number of online users in the country and will enable Internet services to penetrate new market segments by eliminating language barriers.

The domain name .misr -- the Arabic word for Egypt, which will be spelt in Arabic script -- will be registered through Internet service suppliers TE Data, Vodafone Data and Link Registrar, the statement said. Analysts say Arabic content accounts for just 1 percent of total web content.

(Writing by Shaimaa Fayed)