Africa and the Middle East - Key developments to watch moving into 2014


This report was archived in February 2014 and has not been updated since November 2013.

Following the introduction of third- and fourth-generation (3G/4G) mobile technology in Africa, broadband Internet access for the mass market has become a reality. However, while cut-throat competition between at least three networks in most countries has resulted in rock-bottom prices for voice calls, the cost of broadband services has remained relatively high due to a lack of international and domestic fibre optic infrastructure. This is now rapidly improving, paving the way towards digital economies similar to those found in the neighbouring Middle East region. Like many Middle Eastern countries, some African markets now have mobile market (SIM card) penetration rates of well over 100%. However, the African market is almost entirely prepaid and highly cost-sensitive, which leads to a much lower average revenue per user (ARPU).

The trends and developments provided in this report are an indication of the many exciting developments that have already started in 2013 and which are going to further evolve during  2014 and beyond. It provides a clear indication of where the focus is in these countries and what therefore can be expected to happen over coming years.  It highlights where the opportunities are and the importance of the telecommunications industry in relation to overall social and economic developments.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Technology-neutral license awards in 2013 strengthen the broadband market in Benin
  • 3. Botswana shows the first fruits of telecom privatisation
  • 4. Burkina Faso - Fixed-line numbers fall as customers migrate to mobile
  • 5. State-backed national backbone delivering greater broadband connectivity in Burundi
  • 6. Third mobile network to launch in Cameroon, including 3G
  • 7. Chad finally gets international fibre bandwidth
  • 8. DR Congo's broadband market set to grow with fibre and 3G/4G deployments
  • 9. Submarine infrastructure improves Ivorian international bandwidth, encouraging broadband development
  • 10. Djibouti improves internet connectivity though telecom market still stymied by high access costs
  • 11. 12 billion dollars for Egypt
  • 12. Egypt's political crisis is affecting the telecom sector
  • 13. Ethiopia - Privatisation of incumbent ETC stalled again
  • 14. Gabon - 3G services expected by end-2013, HSPA mobile broadband on the horizon
  • 15. Telecom regulator rules to allow VoIP services in Gambia
  • 16. Ghana - Fifth submarine cable vastly improving broadband affordability
    • 16.1 Telecom market overview
    • 16.2 Mobile market
  • 17. Iran increases control over its Internet
  • 18. Mergers and acquisitions in Kenya’s second-tier telco market
  • 19. LTE and Mobile Number Portability to underpin competition in Kuwait
  • 20. Lebanon launches LTE not long after 3G
  • 21. Currency devaluation causing continuing difficulties for telcos in Malawi
  • 22. LTE services launched, facilitating mobile broadband in Mauritius
  • 23. Mozambique’s Revised Telecom Act aimed at encouraging access to telecom infrastructure
  • 24. Namibia - Portugal Telecom’s merger with Brazil’s Oi to deliver benefits to MTC
  • 25. Regulatory review helps competition prospects in Oman
  • 26. Qatar’s regulator strives to improve competition
  • 27. Rwanda - Joint venture with Korea Telecom to provide national LTE network by 2016
  • 28. Tanzania - Mobile broadband gains traction with operator investment
  • 29. Turkey on the cusp of LTE
  • 30. Consolidation in Uganda’s overcrowded mobile sector, Internet growing at more than 200% per year
  • 31. Urgent need to revisit Internet Governance (WCIT-12)
  • 32. Fourth mobile licence planned in Zambia
  • 33. Zimbabwe's booming mobile and broadband market

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