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Mauritania - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 22 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 66

Mauritania restarts LTE auction process

Mauritania’s small population and low economic output has limited the country’s ability to develop sustained growth. There are also practical challenges relating to transparency and tax burdens which have hindered foreign investment. The telecom sector similarly faces a number of hurdles, though efforts continue to be made to address them with financial support from the government as well as the World Bank and European Investment Bank. These efforts have been focussed on implementing appropriate regulatory measures and promoting the further penetration of fixed-line broadband services by improving the national backbone network, ensuring connectivity to international telecom cables, and facilitating operator access to infrastructure.

Despite these efforts, Mauritel maintains a virtual monopoly in the fixed-line sector, and there is little stimulus for new market entrants. Penetration of fixed telephony and broadband penetration is very low and is expected to remain so in coming years. Most voice and data services are carried over the mobile networks maintained by Mauritel, Mattel and Chinguitel. Population penetration of 3G is relatively high, though as yet there are few developments in LTE and as a consequence mobile broadband access speeds are low, placing a break on the potential for mobile commerce and related applications. The regulator still struggles to enforce good quality of service among these operators, despite fines being imposed. This represents a significant challenge, given the importance of mobile networks for basic telecom services.

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:

  • Some 1,600km of new fibre backbone network laid as part of a WARCIP funded project;
  • Regulator restarts LTE licence auction;
  • Mauritania joins regional free roaming initiatives;
  • MNOs fined for SIM card registration failings and poor QoS;
  • Mattel secures satellite backhaul connectivity for remote areas;
  • Report update includes ITU data for 2017, operator data for Q4 2018, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Mauritel, Mattel, Chinguitel, Sudatel, Expresso Telecom, Tunisie Telecom.

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