Niger is one of the largest countries in West Africa but also one of the poorest in the world. As with many African markets, a lack of fixed telecoms infrastructure has led to growth in mobile services. Niger’s mobile penetration is modest compared to other countries in the region, while fixed broadband penetration is negligible.
Recent international investment to complete the Trans-Saharan Dorsal optical fibre (SDR) network has extended the reach of fibre-optic infrastructure in the country and also increased international capacity. Despite this, investment among operators has fallen dramatically since 2015. This is partly the result of a poor economic climate since then, which saw a 7.5% fall in market revenue in 2019, year-on-year. Orange Niger made no significant investment in 2019, as the company exited the market.
Following years of financial difficulties, the state-owned fixed line operator, Sonitel, was merged with its wholly owned mobile unit, SahelCom, in late 2016 to form a new entity, Niger Telecom. The merged company secured a global telecom licence in November 2017 and is aiming to develop greater efficiency through sharing resources and 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.
Niger Telecom (Sonitel, SahelCom), Bharti Airtel (Airtel Niger), Orange Niger, Atlantique Telecom, Moov, Maroc Telecom, Etisalat, African Development Bank.
As you know, I have resigned from the Labor Ministry and have decided not to re-contest the seat of Charlton at the next election – both for personal reasons.
Before leaving Parliament, I particularly wish to record my thanks to you for your generous and constructive participation in the deliberations that generated significant economic policy reforms for the Australian community. Continuous economic transformation is a key challenge that faces all Governments.
The development of sound public policy should always be contestable. Ultimately, good and equitable outcomes are not concessions to any particular interest group, but the careful balancing of interests to create the greatest possible benefit for the nation. You have contributed to that, and I sincerely thank you for it.
Greg Combet, Former Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation
BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.
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