Submarine infrastructure improves Ivorian international bandwidth, encouraging broadband development
This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Cote d’Ivoire’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:
- One of the most competitive mobile market in the region;
- The impact of the recent political and economic crisis;
- Key statistics;
- Market and industry overviews;
- 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, including 3G;
- Internet and broadband development and growth;
- Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
- Broadband pricing trends – ADSL, EV-DO, WiMAX, 3G/HSPA;
- Average Revenue per User (APRU).
Civil unrest following disputed presidential elections led to a contraction of Cote d’Ivoire's economy in 2011, but GDP growth reached 9.8% in 2012 and is expected to have reached 8% for 2013.
Although it has two competing fixed network operators, the country's telecommunications sector is dominated by mobile telephony, with South Africa’s MTN and France Telecom-owned Orange leading the market. The launch of three more GSM networks between 2006 and 2008 – Moov (owned by Etisalat of the UAE until it was sold to Maroc Telecom in May 2014), KoZ (operated by the Lebanese Comium Group) and Oricel Green Network (backed by Libya's LAP Green) – has accelerated the already fast growth and pushed mobile market penetration well above the African average. Two additional operators have been licensed and are preparing to enter the market, but problems with frequency spectrum allocation have caused delays. Some consolidation can be expected in this crowded market in the future.
The internet and broadband market has remained underdeveloped due to the high cost of international bandwidth, caused by a monopolisation of access to the only international fibre optic submarine cable serving the country until recently. This is now beginning to change, following the landing of a second cable in November 2011, with up to three more to follow in the near future. Significant reductions in retail pricing for some of the existing ADSL, WiMAX and EV-DO wireless broadband services can already be observed. The biggest game changer, however, will be the recent introduction of 3G mobile services.
Following years of delays, the first 3G licence was finally awarded in March 2012 and the first 3.5G mobile broadband service has been launched, offering up to 42Mb/s using HSPA+ technology. The extensive geographical reach of the mobile networks will now make the internet accessible to a much wider part of the population. With a national backbone network including more than 20,000km of fibre optic cable, Cote d'Ivoire is in a good position to translate these improvements in competition and infrastructure into a booming broadband market and digital economy.
Estimated market penetration rates in Cote d’Ivoire’s telecoms sector – end-2013
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
MTN Ivory Coast planning to invest XOF120 billion to upgrade its network through to 2017; VipNet planning to launch a TD-LTE service by end-2014; Etisalat sells its Moov branded businesses in Benin, the Central African Republic, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, Niger and Togo to Maroc Telecom for $650 million; continuing high GDP growth sustaining telecom sector into 2014; competition in international bandwidth market leading to lower broadband prices; 3G licences finally awarded, first HSPA+ mobile broadband service launched; consolidation in the crowded market supported by the government, suggesting that three smaller operators merge; government sustains plan to sell a 28% stake in the incumbent telco CI-Telecom; for about $9 million; MTN builds a new data centre; WiMAX operator YooMee begins deploying an LTE network as it switches technologies for its African markets; government increases tax on telcos to 30%; SIM card registration ordered to be processed again following large scale fraud; report includes the regulator’s market data for 2013, telcos’ operating data to Q1 2014, market developments to June 2014.
Companies covered in this report:
Cote d’Ivoire Telecom (CI-Telecom), MTN CI, Arobase Telecom, Orange CI (France Telecom), Comium CI (KoZ), Etisalat (Moov), LapGreen (Green Network, GreenN, Oricel), Warid Telecom, Globacom, CORA de Comstar, Aircomm CI, Mainstreet Technologies, Africa Online, AfNet, Aviso, Globe Access Internet (Omnes), Intel Afrique, Solaris Telecom, Africom, Afripa Telecom (Atlantique Telecom), Comete, Globe Access, Monicash.