Yemen Telecoms Market Report

Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 17 Aug 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 89

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Yemen’s crumbling economy triggers MTN’s exit

Yemen continues to provide an exceptionally challenging market for telcos. Civil unrest has caused havoc and devastation across most parts of the country, while the threat of sanctions has also made it a challenging environment in which to operate. A large proportion of the population requires humanitarian assistance, and there is little disposable income for services upon which telcos can generate revenue. Essential telecom infrastructure, such as mobile towers and fibre cabling, has often been targeted, destroyed, or damaged by the opposing sides in the ongoing conflict. These difficulties have proved to be a disincentive to telcos investing in infrastructure, with the result that the country lacks basic fixed-line infrastructure, and mobile services are based on outdated GSM. This has prevented the development of a mobile broadband sector, or the evolution of mobile data services.

The ownership of telecommunication services, and the scrutiny of associated revenues and taxes, have become a political issue in Yemen. In 2019 the recognised government moved Tele Yemen’s headquarters from Sana’a to Aden in a bid to regain control of the company.

Until telecom infrastructure can be improved across Yemen, and until civil unrest eases, there will be little progress for the sector. MTN Group in mid-2021 confirmed its intension to exit the country, having incurred losses for several years, and considered that continuing its presence in this market was no longer worth its while.

Key developments:

  • Progress is made on the Africa-1 cable, improving Yemen’s internet bandwidth.
  • Yemen continues to face challenges including civil conflict and famine, causing disruption to economic growth and investment in telecom infrastructure.
  • MTN Yemen looking to improved political stability before it can complete its exit from the country.

Companies mentioned in this report include:

AdenNet, TeleYemen, Public Telecommunications Corporation (PTC), Yemen Mobile, Sabafon, MTN Yemen, Y Telecom, Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), DARE submarine cable consortium

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