Tunisia - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Digital Tunisia 2020 plan encouraging investment in fibre and G.fast

Tunisia has one of the most sophisticated telecommunications and broadband infrastructures in North Africa. Penetration rates for mobile and internet services are s among the highest in the region. Stimulated by the Digital Tunisia 2020 program, a number of regulatory measures have been instituted aimed at improving internet connectivity to underserved areas. These in initiatives will also see the auction of spectrum in the 800MHz band for IoT and mobile services. For its part the incumbent telco Tunisie Telecom is investing to expand the reach and capabilities of its LTE network and build up a vectoring VDSL and fibre infrastructure. The company is also in the process of migrating internet traffic to its new Broadband Network Gateway (BNG) platform.

The events of the ‘Arab Spring’ revolution in 2011 drove the country into a brief recession, but GDP growth soon returned to pre-crisis levels. This encouraged growing confidence in economic recovery, though GDP growth has been modest, at only 1% in 2015 and 2016 and an estimated 2.5% for 2017. Political difficulties in recent years have also had an impact on the telecom sector, notably causing the delay in the planned sale of EIT’s 35% interest in Tunisie Telecom. Despite this, the government is pressing on with plans to list its 65% stake in Tunisie Telecom on the Tunis stock exchange, in part to help the company raise funds to enable it to pursue its expansion plans. These plans saw the company acquire the Maltese quad-play operator GO in August 2016. The government has also considered plans to offload its interests in Orange Tunisia and Ooredoo Tunisia.

The mobile sector experienced exceptional growth following the introduction of a second GSM network in 2002, operated initially by Egypt’s Orascom under the name Tunisiana and now by Qatar Telecom (Qtel) which rebranded it to Ooredoo. Orange Group entered the market as the third operator in 2010 and launched Tunisia’s first commercial 3G mobile service, followed by Tunicell in 2011 and Tunisiana in 2012. HSPA+ services are also widely available. In March 2016 the regulator accepted bids from all three MNOs for LTE licenses. Extensive LTE trials were carried out in late 2015, and commercial launches were made in late 2016.

Ooredoo and Orange Tunisie are also licensed as fixed-line operators and have launched DSL and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) services. In addition, a dozen public and private ISPs compete in this sector, supported by a nationwide fibre optic backbone network and international access via submarine and terrestrial fibre.

A reform of the country’s Telecommunications Act was initiated in 2013 and government internet censorship was officially abolished. In addition, laws supporting e-commerce and digital signatures have been passed, which has led to one of the most active e-government and e-commerce sectors in Africa.

Key developments:

MNOs and regulator sign agreement related to QoS parameters for fixed and mobile number portability; Tunisie Telecom begins rolling out FttC with VDSL vectoring, offering data at up to 300Mb/s; regulator opens public consultation on plans to regulate fibre infrastructure sharing; regulator sets amended 3G/LTE mobile data rates for operators; Tunisie Telecom partners with Korea Telecom to develop a 1Gb/s broadband service, completes G.fast trials delivering data at up to 800Mb/s; MVNO Lycamobile sees strong subscribers growth into 2017; report updates include the regulator’s market data to May 2017, telcos’ financial and operating data to Q2 2017, recent market developments.

Market penetration rates in Tunisia’s telecoms sector – 2017 (May)

Market Penetration rate
Fixed-line telephony 8.5%
Fixed broadband 5.2%
Mobile SIM (population) 124.3%

Companies mentioned in this report:

Tunisie Telecom (Tunicell), Orange Tunisie, Ooredoo (Tunisiana, Orascom, Wataniya, Qatar Telecom/Qtel), Planet Tunisie, 3S GlobalNet, HexaByte, Tunet, Topnet, Divona Telecom, Thuraya, Nokia Networks, Huawei Technologies, ZTE, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market analysis
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Historical overview
    • 5.2 Telecommunications Act 2001
      • 5.2.1 Amendments - 2008
      • 5.2.2 Reform - 2013
      • 5.2.3 Developments - 2014
    • 5.3 Regulatory authorities
      • 5.3.1 INT
      • 5.3.2 ONT
    • 5.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 5.5 Number Portability (NP)
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 Tunisie Telecom (TT)
      • 6.1.1 Privatisation
    • 6.2 Orange Tunisie
    • 6.3 Ooredoo Tunisie (Tunisiana)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 7.2 International infrastructure
      • 7.2.1 Submarine fibre
      • 7.2.2 Terrestrial
      • 7.2.3 Satellite
    • 7.3 Cloud services
    • 7.4 Smart infrastructure
  • 8. Fixed-line broadband market
    • 8.1 Introduction and statistical overview
    • 8.2 Broadband statistics
    • 8.3 Public Internet access locations
    • 8.4 Agence Tunisienne d’Internet (ATI)
    • 8.5 Fixed-line broadband technologies
      • 8.5.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
      • 8.5.2 VDSL
      • 8.5.3 G.fast
      • 8.5.4 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
      • 8.5.5 Other fixed broadband services
  • 9. Digital Economy
    • 9.1 E-commerce
    • 9.2 E-learning
    • 9.3 E-government
  • 10. Digital media
    • 10.1 Communications: VoIP
  • 11. Mobile market
    • 11.1 Market analysis
    • 11.2 Mobile statistics
    • 11.3 Mobile data
      • 11.3.1 SMS, MMS
    • 11.4 Mobile broadband
    • 11.5 Regulatory issues
      • 11.5.1 Network sharing
      • 11.5.2 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 11.5.3 LTE spectrum
      • 11.5.4 800MHz spectrum auction
      • 11.5.5 OTT applications
    • 11.6 Mobile Infrastructure
      • 11.6.1 Digital networks
      • 11.6.2 Other infrastructure developments
    • 11.7 M2M networks
    • 11.8 Major mobile operators
      • 11.8.1 Tunicell (Tunisie Telecom)
      • 11.8.2 Ooredoo (Tunisiana)
      • 11.8.3 Orange Tunisie
    • 11.9 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 11.10 Mobile content and applications
      • 11.10.1 M-money
      • 11.10.2 Mobile TV
  • 12. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Tunisia – 2017 (e)
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2017 (May)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2017
  • Table 4 – Internet statistics – 2017 (May)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (May)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
  • Table 7 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Tunisia – 1995 - 2009
  • Table 8 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Tunisia – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 9 – Fixed-line subscribers by operator – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 10 – Fixed-line market share by operator – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 11 – Tunisia’s international bandwidth – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 12 – Proportion of fixed-line broadband connections by data speed – 2014 - 2017
  • Table 13 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Tunisia – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 14 – Internet users and penetration rate in Tunisia – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 15 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2002 - 2018
  • Table 16 – PC household penetration – 1999 - 2016
  • Table 17 – Public internet kiosks – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 18 – DSL subscribers in Tunisia – 2002 - 2017
  • Table 19 – ADSL markets share by operator – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 20 –DSL subscribers by operator – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 21 – Orange Tunisia broadband subscribers – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 22 – FttP subscribers – 2018 - 2017
  • Table 23 – WiMAX internet subscribers – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 24 – VoIP lines in service in Tunisia – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 25 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Tunisia – 1995 - 2009
  • Table 26 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Tunisia – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 27 – Mobile prepaid and contract subscribers – 2014 - 2017
  • Table 28 – Mobile market share of subscribers by operator – 2009 - 2017
  • Table 29 – Mobile broadband subscribers (3G with key) – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 30 – Mobile broadband subscribers by operator – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 31 – Mobile broadband market share by operator – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 32 – Standard 3G mobile internet subscribers and penetration – 2013 - 2017
  • Table 33 –3G/LTE mobile internet subscribers by operator – 2014 - 2017
  • Table 34 – M2M connections – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 35 – Tunisie Telecom mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 36 – Ooredoo blended monthly ARPU (QR) – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 37 – Ooredoo revenue and EBITDA – 2002 - 2016
  • Table 38 – Ooredoo subscribers – 2002 - 2017
  • Table 39 – Orange Tunisie mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 40 – Lycamobile Tunisie mobile subscribers – 2015 - 2017
  • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Tunisia – 2005 – 2018
  • Chart 2 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Tunisia – 2005 - 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – Map of Tunisia

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