The telecom sector in Burkina Faso continues to be stymied by slow regulatory procedures and insufficient mobile spectrum, compounded by the poor condition of fixed-line networks which has held back the development of fixed-line internet services and rendered such services among the most expensive globally. Although all three mobile network operators have universal service licenses, only Onatel, majority-owned by Maroc Telecom, also operates a fixed-line network.
Mobile telephony has experienced strong growth since competition was introduced in 2000. There has been some fluidity in ownership, with Zain having been acquired by Bharti Airtel before being sold on to Orange Group in 2016. Market penetration remains below the African average but continues to grow steadily.
Onatel’s FasoNet is the country’s leading internet service provider, offering DSL and EV-DO services. Internet penetration is extremely low, exacerbated by the high cost of connectivity despite price cuts introduced since 2011 in the wake of improved international bandwidth via fibre links through adjacent countries. These links provide access to the region’s international submarine cables. Although about 50 ISPs have been licensed, only three compete with FasoNet, and collectively these have fewer than 1,000 subscribers.
As a result of poor fixed-line infrastructure the mobile operators have become significant players in the internet sector, accounting for most connections.
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.
Onatel, Telmob, Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel), Orange Burkina Faso, Moov (Telecel, Etisalat), FasoNet, ZCP, Delgi, Cenatrin, CFAO Technologies, River Telecom, Net Access, Maroc Telecom, Vivendi.
Paul owns and manages the world's largest online Telecommunications Consultancy and is very active on the international telecommunication scene. A very hard worker who is extremely well informed and well connected with all tiers of the ICT industry. He is the force behind the NBN project implementation and a catalyst for the progress of the Digital Economy between the Industry and the powers that be, in the government
Sharif Ahmed, Senior Consultant, Digisoft Microsystems
BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.
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