Gabon - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Cable infrastructure improving international broadband connectivity in Gabon

Gabon remains one of the wealthiest nations in Africa in terms of GDP per capita, with the economy largely buttressed by oil revenue.

The telecom market was liberalised in 1999 when the government awarded three mobile telephony licences and two Internet Service Provider (ISP) licences and established an independent regulatory authority. Following two unsuccessful attempts, Gabon Telecom was privatised in 2007 when Vivendi-controlled Maroc Telecom bought a 51% stake in the operator.

With competition between three service providers –Airtel Gabon (formerly Celtel and Zain), Gabon Telecom’s Libertis (owned by Maroc Telecom), and Moov (owned by Etisalat before being sold to Maroc Telecom in May 2014 and in the process of being merged with Libertis) – Gabon became one of the first countries in Africa to exceed 100% mobile market penetration (in 2008). Recently the regulator adjusted its recording of mobile penetration, based on a standard adopted by the French telecom regulator, to account for multiple SIM card use among subscribers. Network operators have been able to maintain higher Average Revenue per User (ARPU) than their peers in the region.

The 2009 entry of a fourth network, USAN (operated by Bintel under the brand name Azur) into a competitive market with high penetration triggered a price war that saw revenue and profits dive, forcing the operators to streamline their businesses and to look for new income streams. Following more than a year of delays, a licence to offer 3G mobile broadband services was finally awarded in late 2011. Both Airtel Gabon and Libertis have launched LTE services.

In contrast with the mobile market, Gabon’s fixed-line and internet/broadband sectors have remained underdeveloped due to a lack of competition and the resulting high prices. The country has always had sufficient international bandwidth on the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE fibre-optic submarine cable which runs from Portugal via South Africa to the Far East, but this facility has been monopolised by Gabon Telecom. The recent arrival of a second international submarine fibre optic cable (ACE), combined with progressing work on the CAB cable, has supported mobile data services and backhaul.

Key developments:

  • Regulator finalises universal service strategy aimed at eliminating mobile coverage white spots;
  • Gabon Telecom launches a 100Mb/s FttP service in Libreville;
  • Maroc Telecom merges Gabon Telecom and Moov Gabon;
  • Gabon Telecom to build nationwide fibre network, deliver VoD services;
  • Connecting cable linking to the CAB completed;
  • eGabon project launched to improve e-health services;
  • Regulator promotes MVNO market to maintain competition;
  • Axione contracted to extend and maintain national telecoms infrastructure;
  • MNOs begin registering SIM cards to comply with new regulations;
  • Airtel Gabon opens submarine link between Libreville and Port-Gentil;
  • Airtel Money service made available to BGFI Bank customers;
  • 3G mobile licence finally awarded;
  • Libertis launches LTE services, secures new mobile licences;
  • Airtel Gabon launches commercial LTE service;
  • Report update includes the regulator’s market data to Q1 2016, operator data to Q1 2016, recent market developments.

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

Penetration of telecoms services: Penetration
Fixed-line telephony 1.1%
Fixed internet users 10.3%
Mobile SIM (population) 192%

Companies mentioned in this report:

Gabon Telecom (Maroc Telecom, Libertis); Bharti Airtel (Zain); Moov (Telecel Gabon); Bintel (USAN, Azur); Internet Gabon; Solsi; IBN Corporate.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Telecommunications market
    • 3.1 Market analysis
  • 4. Regulatory environment
    • 4.1 Historical overview
    • 4.2 Regulatory authority
    • 4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 4.4 Interconnection
  • 5. Fixed network operator
    • 5.1 Gabon Telecom
      • 5.1.1 Privatisation
      • 5.1.2 Financial results
  • 6. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 6.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 6.2 International infrastructure
      • 6.2.1 Submarine
      • 6.2.2 Terrestrial fibre
  • 7. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 7.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 7.2 Market analysis
    • 7.3 Broadband statistics
      • 7.3.1 Gabon Telecom
      • 7.3.2 Internet Gabon
      • 7.3.3 Solsi
    • 7.4 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 7.4.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 7.4.2 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP)
      • 7.4.3 Other fixed broadband services
    • 7.5 VoIP
  • 8. Digitel economy
    • 8.1 e-health
  • 9. Mobile market
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
    • 9.3 Mobile data
      • 9.3.1 SMS
    • 9.4 Mobile broadband
    • 9.5 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.5.1 High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA)
      • 9.5.2 Long-term Evolution (LTE)
      • 9.5.3 Mobile satellite services
    • 9.6 Major mobile operators
      • 9.6.1 Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel)
      • 9.6.2 Libertis (Gabon Telecom)
      • 9.6.3 Moov (Télécel Gabon)
      • 9.6.4 Azur (USAN, BinTel)
    • 9.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 9.7.1 Mobile payments
  • 10. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Gabon – 2016 (e)
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2016
  • Table 4 – Internet and social media user statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Gabon Télécom fixed-line/internet vs. mobile revenue – 2008 - 2015
  • Table 8 – Gabon Télécom fixed-line/internet vs. mobile revenue (FCFA) – 2008 - 2015
  • Table 9 – Gabon Télécom fixed-line subscribers – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 10 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 12 – International bandwidth – 2002 - 2014
  • Table 13 –Market share of internet subscribers – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 14 – Internet users and penetration – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 15 – Fixed-line and mobile internet subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 16 – Fixed-line internet subscribers and penetration – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 17 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers and penetration – 2003 - 2016
  • Table 18 – Gabon Telecom internet subscribers – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 19 – DSL subscribers and penetration – 2003 - 2015
  • Table 20 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 21 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 22 – Mobile market share by operator – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 23 –Mobile services revenue – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 24 –Mobile ARPU – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 25 – Mobile SMS sent – 2014 - 2016
  • Table 26 – Mobile broadband users – 2012 - 2016
  • Table 27 – Airtel Gabon subscribers – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 28 – Libertis subscribers – 2007 - 2016
  • Table 29 – Libertis mobile revenue – 2011 - 2014
  • Table 30 – Libertis annualised mobile ARPU – 2013 - 2015
  • Table 31 – Moov subscribers – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 32 – Moov mobile ARPU – 2014 - 2015
  • Table 33 – Azur subscribers – 2010 - 2016
  • Chart 1 – Gabon Télécom fixed-line/internet vs. mobile revenue – 2008 – 2015
  • Chart 2 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2002– 2017
  • Chart 3 – Internet users and penetration – 2002 – 2016
  • Chart 4 – Mobile subscribers in Gabon – 2005 - 2017
  • Exhibit 1 – New international submarine fibre optic cables in West Africa – 2010 - 2012

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