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Burkina Faso - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 14 Jul 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 107

Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster

Contributing Analyst: Peter Lange

Burkina Faso increase telecom tax to 7%

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.

Key developments:

  • Revised Finance Law increases telecom tax to 7% of telco revenue;
  • BKF/021 infrastructure project largely completed;
  • Parliament launches inquiry on mobile network infrastructure coverage, pricing of services, and QoS;
  • Main One to increase broadband bandwidth with new PRICAO fibre cable;
  • Government begins computer subsidy program for university students;
  • Burkina Faso joins G5 Sahel countries to eliminate roaming fees;
  • Orange Burkina Faso launches LTE-A services, extends Orange Money services;
  • Government progresses with XOF23.6 billion project to provide metropolitan fibre-optic infrastructure;
  • Report update includes the regulator's annual reports and market statistical data to 2019, telcos' financial and operating data to Q1 2020, 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:

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.

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