Telecom Investment Research Note
All five North African countries – Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco – are currently going through social and political upheaval. The Internet is playing a key role in these developments as it enables people to access independent information and to communicate with each other. Some of the countries have relatively free Internet and ISP markets while others exercise strict government control and in some cases censorship, but even in some of the more liberalised markets governments have tried to cut international Internet connections during the current crisis.
The current developments will almost certainly bring changes to each of the countries’ Internet markets. It could mean more restrictions and government control in some of them, at least for a while, but others may become more liberal and finally open up to foreign investment. The opportunities for investors are huge, with Internet penetration ranging from only 6% to 45% across the region. The telecoms infrastructure in North Africa is superior to that in most sub-Saharan countries, and demand for Internet services is certainly there, as the pictures on TV are showing us these days.
This report gives an overview of the Internet markets in the above mentioned five countries, identifies the major players and provides estimates for Internet users and market penetration in each country for the end of 2011.