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Benin - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 20 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 104

Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Contributing Analyst: Peter Lange

Benin government set to restructure state-owned telcos

Development within Benin’s telecom market continues to be restricted by the poor condition of the country’s fixed-line infrastructure. The use of fixed-line voice and internet services is low, and consequently little revenue is derived from these sectors. Mobile networks account for almost all internet connections, and also carry most voice traffic. As such, it is this sector which is attracting most investment among the two remaining operators, following the closure of services from Glo Mobile and Libercom in 2018.

There has been some progress resulting from improved international internet connectivity and the rapidly escalating bandwidth available, which has led to lower access pricing for end-users. This additional bandwidth has assisted MTN Benin and Moov to expand their networks and provided the necessary backhaul capacity to support the growing use of mobile data applications and service, including m-commerce and m-banking. Improved telecoms infrastructure has the potential to transform many areas of the country’s economy, bringing a greater proportion of the population into the orbit of internet commerce and connectivity.

The fixed-line monopoly operator be.Telecoms (rebranded from Benin Telecoms in October 2015) has also expanded its fixed-wireless and DSL-based broadband services in recent years, extending its national fibre backbone and international fibre connections. Long-established plans to privatise the company have thus far come to nought, though through the government’s strategy to sell of the company’s assets the mobile services unit Libercom was spun off and disbanded, with its subscriber base being migrated to MTN’s network.

Although fixed-line internet services have been available in Benin since 1995, access is limited to a small proportion of the population. Fixed-line internet represents only a small fraction of all accesses, with most connections being made via the mobile networks. To address these limitations, the government and regulator are engaged in an ICT development program through to 2021, which aims to provide telecoms services to 80% of the country, mostly via mobile infrastructure.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Mobile Number Portability becomes available;
  • Libercom and Glo Mobile cease trading;
  • Benin joins free roaming scheme;
  • MTN agrees to pay CFA134.4 billion in licence fees for 2016 and 2017, is fined XOF1.354 billion for breaches of its licence obligations;
  • Government restructures state-owned telcos;
  • Benin Smart City construction starts;
  • Canal+ signed deal with the Beninese Electric Power Company to provide internet services via powerlines;
  • MTN Benin signs five-year Managed Rural Coverage deal with Ericsson;
  • Orange commissions new connection from the ACE submarine cable, connecting Benin with Tenerife;
  • be.Telecoms launches LTE services;
  • Isocel announces plans to roll out FttP services
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donate funds to a mobile vaccine registry program;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data to June 2018, telcos' operating data to Q4 2018, Telecom maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

MTN, Moov (Telecel), Libercom, BBCom (Bell Benin), Glo Mobile (Globacom), be.Telecoms (Bénin Télécoms, formerly OPT), Kanakoo (BeninNet), Isocel, EIT, FirstNet, Arts Bobo, Sobiex Informatique, Global Trading Agency, Afripa Telecom, Thuraya, Nitel, Suburban Telecom, CEB.

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