During the last decade Chad’s economy has been dominated by oil exports, and as a result economic growth has been affected by the changing prices for the commodity on international markets. Recent economic difficulties have been exacerbated by civil unrest, an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries, and the economic downsides resulting from the pandemic.
The country remains one of the least developed on the continent, while telecom infrastructure is particularly poor, with penetration rates in all sectors – fixed, mobile and internet – well below African averages. Nevertheless, despite difficult operating conditions, large scale poverty and low spending power, Chad’s telecom market offers some potential for investors to develop services given the low starting base.
The two main operators Moov Africa Chad and Airtel Chad have invested in infrastructure and have become the main providers of voice and data services. However, the difficult economic conditions of the country, compounded by taxes on telecom services which have adversely affected customer spend and operator revenue, encouraged these players to consider exiting the market.
The mobile sector has developed steadily under the auspices of these two operators. The national telco and fixed-line operator Sotel Tchad operates the country’s third mobile network, as Salam Mobile, though it is mainly focussed on voice services since it depends on GPRS and EDGE technologies (which can provide only basic mobile data services). The country’s first 3G/LTE mobile licence was awarded in April 2014.
Chad finally gained access to international fibre bandwidth in 2012. Its national backbone infrastructure remains underdeveloped. The World Bank-funded Central African Backbone (CAB) project takes in Chad, while the country is also party to a Trans-Saharan Backbone project which will link a fibre cable to Nigeria and Algeria.
Sotel Tchad, TchadNet, Airtel Chad, Tigo Chad, Tchad Mobile (Orascom), Maroc Telecom, Sitcom, Salam Mobile
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