Eritrea - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Eritrea’s government commits to extending telecom services to remote areas

Eritrea’s telecom sector operates under a state-owned monopoly for fixed and mobile services. Partly as a result of such restrictions on competition, the country has the least developed telecommunications market in Africa. Mobile penetration as on mid-2016 was only about 7.4%, while fixed-line internet use barely registers. This is exacerbated by the very low use of computers, with only about 2% of households having a computer, and most of these being in the capital, Asmara. Only the Internet Service Provider (ISP) sector is open to competition. Growth in the mobile and internet sector is showing some promise as the national telco, the Eritrean Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel), continues to roll out a Third Generation (3G) mobile network. However, considerable investment in telecom infrastructure is required to improve the availability of services. The government in May 2016 announced a work program to do exactly that, specifically aimed at extending services to remote areas, improving the quality of services, and ensuring that more telecoms infrastructure is supported by solar power to compensate for the poor state of the electricity network.

Additional foreign investment in telecom infrastructure, as well as introduction of more competition, would help transform what remains a virtually untapped market.

Key developments:

Government unveils plans for infrastructure developments to end-2016; EriTel increases mobile coverage to 85% of the country;

Market penetration rates in Eritrea’s telecoms sector –2016 (e)

Market Penetration rate
Mobile SIM (population) 7.4%
Internet users 1.1%
Fixed-line telephony 1.0%

(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies mentioned in this report:

Eritrean Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel)

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecom, mobile and internet market overview
    • 4.1 Privatisation of EriTel
  • 5. Market statistics
    • 5.1 Fixed-line statistics
    • 5.2 Internet statistics
    • 5.3 Mobile statistics
  • 6. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2015
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2016
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 7 –-Telecom services revenue by platform – 2001 - 2015
  • Table 8 –-Telecom services investment – 2001 - 2015
  • Table 9 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eritrea – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 10 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eritrea – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 11 – Historic - Internet subscribers and penetration rate in Eritrea – 1999 - 2004
  • Table 12 – Internet subscribers and penetration rate in Eritrea – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 13 – Fixed-line internet subscribers – 2003 - 2016
  • Table 14 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 15 – International Internet bandwidth – 1999 - 2015
  • Table 16 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Eritrea – 2004 - 2017
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Eritrea – 2010 - 2017
  • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate in Eritrea – 2005 - 2017
  • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Eritrea – 2004 – 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Eritrea

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In 2009 Paul contacted me and we engaged in the brainstorming sessions that led to the development of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development.

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