Fourth mobile operator and 3G licences expected
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Burkina Faso’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:
- Key statistics;
- Market and industry overviews;
- The impact of the global economic crisis;
- Regulatory environment and structural reform;
- Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
- Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
- Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
- Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
- Infrastructure development;
- Mobile voice and data markets;
- Internet and broadband development and pricing;
- Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).
- Broadband and mobile data services and pricing trends;
- Mobile Average Revenue per User (ARPU).
Burkina Faso’s economy is expected to continue growing strongly at an annual rate between 6 and 7% in the coming years.
Fresh investment and new technologies have accelerated the development of the national network infrastructure since Vivendi-owned Maroc Telecom bought a majority stake in the national telco Onatel in 2006. Another 20% of the company was sold in an initial public offering in 2009. Onatel operates the country's fixed-line network, a CDMA2000 wireless network, a fibre optic backbone and one of three GSM mobile networks, Telmob.
Mobile telephony has experienced strong growth since competition was introduced in 2000 by Celtel/Zain (now Bharti Airtel) and Telecel International (now Moov) which was owned by Orascom until it was sold to Atlantique Telecom which was then taken over by Etisalat of the UAE. However, market penetration is still below the African average.
Onatel’s FasoNet is the country’s leading Internet service provider and also dominates the broadband market with its ADSL and EV-DO offerings. Penetration rates in this sector are still extremely low and services remain expensive despite some price cuts in 2011. Being landlocked, Burkina Faso has traditionally depended on expensive satellite links for its international bandwidth, and more recently on transit fibre links through neighbouring countries which had access to the region’s only international fibre optic submarine cable.
The recent arrival of a second, third and fourth international fibre optic submarine cable in Ghana (Glo-1, Main One and WACS) has brought down the cost of international bandwidth by creating competition with the SAT-3/WASC cable. Several of Burkina Faso’s other neighbouring countries also have access to multiple international cables. However, consumers and the country’s entire economy will only benefit from lower broadband prices if Onatel passes these cost savings on to them and also to other ISPs on the wholesale level.
The mobile operators have entered the underdeveloped Internet sector by offering mobile data services using GPRS and EDGE technology, but third generation (3G) mobile broadband technology has not yet been introduced except for Onatel’s EV-DO fixed-wireless service. An international tender for a new combined fixed and mobile licence was unsuccessful in 2010, but a fourth mobile licence and 3G licences for all operators are expected in the near future.
- Fourth mobile licence and more 3G licences expected;
- Mobile penetration has reached 50%;
- International internet bandwidth has reached 1Gb/s.
Estimated market penetration rates in Burkina Faso’s telecoms sector – end-2012
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Companies covered in this report:
Onatel, Telmob, Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel), Moov (Telecel, Etisalat), FasoNet, ZCP, Delgi, Cenatrin, CFAO Technologies, River Telecom, Net Access, Maroc Telecom, Vivendi.