Madagascar extends 10% telecom tax to all telecom services
Madagascar’s exposure to the global economic crisis was amplified by political instability following a controversial change of government in 2009. The economy has since recovered, with GDP growth expected to steadily rise back to levels of around 3.5% by 2016/17. Plans to exploit and export crude oil, gas and other natural resources may also deliver a boost to the economy, despite the falling price of these commodities on international markets.
The period of economic decline led to weaker subscriber growth in the telecoms sector, reduced consumer spending and, as a consequence, intensified price competition between the three GSM mobile network operators – Orange, Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain) and Telma, the incumbent telco. A fourth mobile operator, Madamobil, launched a CDMA-based network in 2010 but its licence was revoked in 2012. However, the economic recovery seen over the last few years is leading to renewed consumer confidence, and to growth in the mobile and broadband markets as customer adopt services based on LTE technology.
Positive developments in the internet and broadband sector are also materialising following the arrival of the first international submarine fibre optic cables, LION and EASSy on the island in 2009 and 2010. This ended the country’s dependency on satellites for international connections, bringing down the cost of international bandwidth and making internet access more affordable to a wider part of the population.
A national fibre backbone is being implemented connecting the major cities. Wireless broadband access networks are being rolled out, enabling converged voice, data and entertainment services. The launch of third generation (3G) mobile broadband services has enabled the mobile operators to reverse their rapidly declining average revenue per user (ARPU).
The fixed-line sector has been undergoing a revolution following the privatisation of Telma. Major investments have been made and the number of fixed lines has grown steadily, albeit from a very low base. ADSL2+ broadband services have been introduced and the decline in fixed-line revenue has been successfully reversed. Despite these positive developments, the national telco is considering various divestiture options.
Penetration rates in all market sectors are still below African averages, promising excellent growth potential.
- Government and regulator work on SIM card registration scheme;
- Telecom service tax raised to 10% in 2016 Finance Act;
- Airtel extends mobile license for a further ten years;
- Telma launches LTE services across Madagascar;
- Regulator replaced with the new Agency for Regulation of Technology and Telecommunication (ARTEC) under new telecom provisions;
- Gulfsat improves IPTV capabilities;
- Telma signs MPLS interconnection agreement with PCCW Global;
- Airtel extends Movirtu Share virtual SIM card platform to Madagascar;
- Lower international bandwidth costs leading to retail broadband price cuts;
- National fibre rollout continues;
- National telco considers divestiture options;
- Report update includes the regulator’s market data updates, telcos operating data updates, recent market developments.
Market penetration rates in Madagascar’s telecoms sector – 2015 (e)
|Penetration of telecoms services:|
|Mobile SIM (population)|
Companies mentioned in this report:
Telecom Malagasy (Telma); Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel); Orange Madagascar; Madamobil; Gulfsat Madagascar; Blueline; Datacom; Data Telecom Services (DTS, Moov).