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Tunisia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 24 Aug 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 133

Tunisia planning nano-satellite launches to 2023

Tunisia has one of the most sophisticated telecom infrastructures in North Africa. Penetration rates for mobile and internet services are among the highest in the region. Stimulated by the Digital Tunisia 2020 program, a number of regulatory measures and infrastructure projects have been instituted aimed at improving internet connectivity to underserved areas. The MNOs have built extensive LTE infrastructure, while operators such as Ooredoo are working with vendors to develop 5G networks and services though the regulator does not expect to offer 5G licenses until 2021. Other investment has been earmarked for vectoring VDSL and fibre to deliver improved fixed-line broadband services.

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. While GDP growth has been modest yet sufficient to encourage confidence in economic recovery, the government’s measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to result in a significant decline in GDP for 2020.

The MNOs Ooredoo and Orange Tunisie are also licensed as fixed-line operators and have launched DSL and 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 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.

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:

  • Tunisia adopts UNESCO’s Internet Universality Indicators (UIUs), signs MoU with India to promote ICTs;
  • Telnet planning launch of 30 nano-satellites;
  • Ooredoo Tunisia contracts Nokia and Huawei to develop 5G networks and systems;
  • 5G licences expected to be issued in 2021;
  • M-money interoperability becomes available across the three mobile networks;
  • Tunisie Telecom delivers FttC with VDSL vectoring, completes G.fast trials;
  • Report updates include the regulator's market data to May 2020, telcos' financial and operating data to Q2 2020, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

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.

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