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Mozambique - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 11 Jun 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 108

Mozambique trials Loon balloons for broadband coverage

Although delayed by the long civil war which ended in 1992, Mozambique was one of the first countries in the region to embark upon telecom reform and open the sector to competition. The mobile segment in particular has shown strong growth since the launch of services by Vodacom Mozambique to compete against mCel, the then mobile subsidiary of the national telco Telecomunicações de Moçambique (TdM). Additional competition followed in late 2020 with the launch of services by Movitel.

Following years of poor management and underachievement, TdM and mCel were merged in early 2019, creating a new operator Mozambique Telecom (Tmcel). In the process, the structure of the market changed from having four operators (TdM, mCel, Vodafone Mozambique and Movitel) to three (Tmcel, Vodafone Mozambique and Movitel). At the same time, a new licensing regime ensured that by mid-2019 all three operators had been provided with universal licenses, enabling them to offer all types of telephony and data services.

Mobile, fixed-line and broadband penetration rates remain far below the average for the region.

In recent years the government has enforced the registration of SIM cards, but with varying success. At the end of 2016 almost five million unregistered SIM cards were deactivated but poor monitoring meant that the process was revisited in mid-2029.

The high cost of international bandwidth had long hampered internet use, though the landing of two international submarine cables (SEACOM and EASSy) has reduced the cost of bandwidth and so led to drastic reductions in broadband retail prices as well as a significant jump in available bandwidth.

There is some cross-platform competition, with DSL, cable, fibre, WiMAX, and mobile broadband options available, though fixed broadband options can be limited to urban areas. Further improvements can be expected from the ongoing rollout of a national fibre backbone networks by Tmcel and of upgrades to mobile infrastructure.

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:

  • Mozambique Telecom secures $200 million loan to undertaken network upgrade projects, begins LTE trials after long delays;
  • Vodacom Mozambique contracts with Alphabet to use its Loon balloon broadband service;
  • Regulator completes multi-spectrum auction, imposes MTR cuts through to end-2020;
  • Vodacom Mozambique secures Unified Telecom License, launches LTE services;
  • Mozambique joins the Alliance for Affordable Internet, aiming to provide broadband at less than 5% of average monthly income;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data for 2018, operator data updates to Q1 2020, ITU market data updates, Telecom Maturity Index tables, charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Mozambique Telecom (Telecomunicações De Moçambique, mCel), Vodacom Mozambique, Movitel (Viettel), Teledata, TV Cabo, Intra, Tropical Web, SEACOM

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