Technology-neutral license awards in 2013 strengthen the broadband market
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Benin’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:
- Key statistics;
- Market and industry overviews;
- The impact of the global economic crisis;
- Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
- Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
- Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
- Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
- Infrastructure development;
- Mobile voice and data markets;
- Average Revenue per User;
- Internet and broadband development;
- Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).
The telecom market in Benin continues to face considerable hurdles to overcome the country’s poor fixed-line infrastructure. Nevertheless, recent developments suggest that the sector will be transformed in coming years, with services made more widely available, at far cheaper prices, than hitherto. This has the potential to transform many areas of the country’s economy, bringing a greater proportion of the population into the orbit of internet commerce and connectivity.
The third submarine cable system, which came online in 2012, has substantially reduced the cost of international bandwidth. The fixed-line monopoly operator Benin Telecoms has also expanded its fixed-wireless and DSL-based broadband services in recent years, extending its national fibre backbone and international fibre connections. Long-established plans to privatise the company have thus far come to nought, though the government is developing its strategy to sell of the company’s assets, including the mobile services unit Libercom which will be spun off as a new entity with separate assets.
The mobile telephony sector enjoys effective competition between Libercom, South Africa’s MTN, Etisalat’s Moov, Globacom’s Glo Mobile, and Bell Benin. Competition among these players has pushed market penetration above 90% by mid-2013.
Although fixed-line internet services have been available in Benin since 1995, access is limited a small proportion of the population. By mid-2013, fixed-line internet represented only about 10% of all accesses: most connectivity is through the mobile networks.
The country’s first licence for 3G and 4G mobile broadband services was awarded in early 2012. In May 2013 the government launched a tender for ‘Universal Service Licenses’. In the following month licenses were awarded to MTN and Etisalat’s Moov. The licences are technology neutral, enabling the operators to offer services based on 3G, LTE and mobile WiMAX technologies.
The vast majority of mobile subscribers are prepaid: by mid-2013 there were about 35,000 contract subscribers, representing only about 0.4% of the total subscriber base.
- New technology-neutral license awards in 2013 to promote broadband connectivity;
- Second international submarine fibre optic cable offers pricing competition;
- Plans advance to sell off Libercom as a separate company;
- Strong growth in the number of mobile internet accesses.
Estimated market penetration by service – end-2013
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Includes telcos’ operating data to Q2 2013; regulator’s market data to March 2013; market developments to September 2013.
Companies covered in this report:
MTN, Moov (Telecel), Libercom, BBCom (Bell Benin), Glo Mobile (Globacom), Benin Telecoms (OPT), Kanakoo (BeninNet), Isocel, EIT, FirstNet, Arts Bobo, Sobiex Informatique, Global Trading Agency, Afripa Telecom, Thuraya, Nitel, Suburban Telecom, CEB.