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Eritrea - Telecoms, Mobile and Internet

Executive summary

EriTel privatisation seen as first step towards market liberalisation

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Eritrea’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:

  • Key statistics;
  • Market and industry overviews;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Infrastructure development;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Internet and broadband development and growth;
  • Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
  • Mobile voice and data markets.

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 2013. Solely the internet service provider (ISP) sector is open to competition. Growth in the mobile and internet sector is now accelerating as the national telco, the Eritrean Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel) is rolling out a third generation (3G) mobile network, but more investment into telecom infrastructure is needed. As a first step, Eritreans were given the opportunity to buy shares in EriTel for the first time in January 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.

Market highlights:

  • The market with the highest growth potential in Africa;
  • Privatisation of EriTel seen as first step towards market liberalisation;
  • Growth in the mobile and internet sector is accelerating ahead of 3G launch;
  • More investment in telecom infrastructure is needed;
  • Emerging mining sector set to boost local economy.

Estimated market penetration rates in Eritrea’s telecoms sector – end 2013

Penetration rate

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:

  • Eritrean Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel)

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecom, mobile and internet market overview
    • 4.1 Privatisation of EriTel
  • 5. Market statistics
    • 5.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 5.2 Internet statistics
    • 5.3 Mobile statistics
  • 6. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2013
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2013
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2013
  • Table 4 – Internet and social media user statistics – 2013
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2013
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eritrea – 1999 - 2013
  • Table 8 – Internet users and penetration rate in Eritrea – 1999 - 2013
  • Table 9 – International Internet bandwidth – 1999 - 2011
  • Table 10 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Eritrea – 2004 - 2013
  • Chart 1 – ICT-IA index rating and composition for Top 5 African markets
  • Chart 2 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eritrea – 2002 - 2013
  • Chart 3 – Internet users and penetration rate in Eritrea – 2002 - 2013
  • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Eritrea – 2004 – 2013 (e)
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Eritrea

Focus Report profile

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