Eritrea’s mobile infrastructure providing 85% geographic coverage
Under a state-owned monopoly on fixed and mobile services, Eritrea is the least developed telecommunications market in Africa with a mobile penetration of only around 6% in early 2014. Only the Internet Service Provider (ISP) sector is open to competition. Growth in the mobile and internet sector is showing some promise as the national telco, the Eritrean Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel) rolls out a third generation (3G) mobile network, but more investment in telecom infrastructure is needed. As an initial step, Eritreans were given the opportunity to buy shares in EriTel for the first time in 2013.
Foreign investment and the introduction of more competition would transform this virtually untapped market. Eritrea was ranked first among the Top Five African markets for ICT investment in 2012. The country’s economy is poised for a boom from mining which was recently opened to foreign participation, offering attractive incentives to investors.
Privatisation of EriTel seen as first step towards market liberalisation; more investment in telecom infrastructure required; EriTel increases mobile coverage to 85% of the country.
Estimated market penetration rates in Eritrea’s telecoms sector – end-2015
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Companies mentioned in this report:
- Eritrean Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel)