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Moving into hi-tech: 3G spurs new growth.

The state of the telecommunications industry in Africa is characterised most strongly by continued mobile growth, with figures increasing between 50% and 60% a year. Limited fixed-line infrastructure and an information and communication-hungry market make it an attractive prospect for mobile operators. This, combined with an increasingly deregulated and liberalised sector across the continent, is making for an interesting and vibrant telecoms landscape. And with only a 20% penetration rate, the potential for growth remains high.


In this Special Report, we look at the continuing growth of Africa's mobile market sub-region by sub-region and how advanced technologies are now making their presence felt in the continent. We also take a close look at Mauritius as it bids to become a regional hub for ICT (1) (Information and Communications Technology) An umbrella term for the information technology field. See IT.

(2) (International Computers and Tabulators) See ICL.

1. (testing) ICT - In Circuit Test.

BuddeCom's 2007 Africa--Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Overview report says that due to Africa's poor fixed-line infrastructure, mobile networks are beginning to play an increasing role in internet service provision, following the launch of 3G services in a number of markets--"a welcome new revenue stream in an almost entirely prepaid environment with low average revenue per user (ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) A calculation often used to determine the overall value of an application. It is also used to rate particular customers, especially in the wireless space, by comparing someone's account to the overall average. ) levels".


But some experts caution that the right balance has not yet been struck. "In South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. , the focus of deregulation Deregulation

The reduction or elimination of government power in a particular industry, usually enacted to create more competition within the industry.

Traditional areas that have been deregulated are the telephone and airline industries.
 has been on putting the correct processes and infrastructure in place to support a competitive sector. The result, though, has been a hampering of progress," says Elia Tsouros, sales executive: Africa at Verizon Business South Africa. "On the other hand, the situation in the rest of the continent is that deregulation has taken place but it has gone to the other extreme."

"In the rest of Africa," he says, "we are seeing a lot of licences being granted but no structures in place to manage these and the result is a lot of interference." He advocates a more balanced approach between the two extremes to create the vibrant telecoms environment that can and should exist on the continent.

Nevertheless, there are countries and players in each region that stand out in terms of their approach.

North Africa

Morocco has demonstrated the possibilities of broadband for the continent. Currently ranked number one in terms of the competitiveness and capacity associated with the price of their ADSL See DSL.

ADSL - Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line
 offerings, the country's operators can offer packages of up to 4mb at this time at competitive rates. "Penetration has been good," Tsouros says.

Algeria has also experienced significant growth. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Business Monitor "figures from market leader Djezzy reveal a subscriber base of almost 11.3m, up by 41% year-on-year. Similar growth was exhibited at Mobilis, while third-ranked Nedjma has more than doubled its subscriber base to more than three million in the past year."

Algeria's fixed-line penetration remains low. Orascom is the mobile market leader followed by Wataniya Telecom Algerie then ATM Mobilis, according to Johan Smith, director at KPMG KPMG Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler (accounting firm)
KPMG Kaiser Permanente Medical Group
KPMG Keiner Prüft Mehr Genau (German)
KPMG Kommen Prüfen Meckern Gehen
 South Africa. Algerie Telecoms plans to introduce Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH (Fiber To The Home) See FTTP. ) connectivity during 2008. (See separate story).

Other Northern African countries are also experiencing growth, with Egypt's telecom sector providing approximately 1,500 new fixed lines in the country every day, which has helped to reduce the waiting list by around 90% in recent years, according to Buddecom. Egypt also launched its 3G mobile service, one of the first in the region, in May last year.

Southern Africa
This article concerns the region in Africa. For the present-day country in this region, see South Africa; for the former country, see South African Republic.
Southern Africa

Dominated traditionally by South Africa, southern Africa has seen other countries emerging as telecoms contenders in the region. Botswana, for example, has a robust telecommunications environment. "Mobile penetration has passed the 50% mark which is more than twice the African average, while the government-owned national operator BTC BTC Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (crude oil pipeline)
BTC Belgische Technische Coöperatie (Dutch: Belgian Technical Cooperation)
BTC Berlinale Talent Campus
BTC Business Travel Coalition
 has seen a continued decline in the number of fixed-line connections despite the introduction of ADSL broadband services," according to Buddecom's 2007 Africa--Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband in Southern Region and Indian Ocean Indian Ocean, third largest ocean, c.28,350,000 sq mi (73,427,000 sq km), extending from S Asia to Antarctica and from E Africa to SE Australia; it is c.4,000 mi (6,400 km) wide at the equator. It constitutes about 20% of the world's total ocean area.  Islands report.

Fixed-line incumbent Angola Telecom Angola Telecom is a telecommunications and Internet service provider of Angola.

Subsidiaries of Angola Telecom include:
  • Movicel, offering cell phone service;
  • ELTAngola, Empresa de Listas Telefonicas de Angola, an online telephone directory;
 is being privatised in the oil-producing nation and soon the country will welcome the licensing of a third mobile operator. Competition finally came to Namibia's mobile telecommunications sector in 2007, creating a duopoly Duopoly

A situation in which two companies own all or nearly all of the market for a given type of product or service.

This is very similar to a monopoly, where only one company dominates the market.

Although the market in Mauritius is small, it is becoming one of the most dynamic in Africa after a surprisingly late start. It has ambitions of becoming the ICT hub The ICT Hub is a project in the UK that aims to support voluntary and community based organisations in England with their technology needs.

The Hub works to create sustainable environment whereby charities and community groups can benefit from the use of information and
 for the sub-region and perhaps a link between Asia, Africa and Latin America Latin America, the Spanish-speaking, Portuguese-speaking, and French-speaking countries (except Canada) of North America, South America, Central America, and the West Indies. . (See separate stories).

Madagascar, on the other hand, still battles with a low penetration rate for both fixed-line and mobile connectivity, despite the deregulation of the industry and the introduction of competition in the mobile market.

Despite political tensions and continued uncertainty, Zimbabwe's telecommunications sector is slowly addressing the demand for broadband service and has introduced 3G mobile services.

Changes in policy and regulation in South Africa have started to create a more competitive, diverse telecommunications sector that can cater to the demands of a sophisticated business and consumer market.

Mobile penetration remains at around 70%, but more alternatives in a variety of areas such as Value Added Network (networking) Value Added Network - (VAN) A privately owned network that provides a specific service, such as legal research or access to a specialised database, for a fee. A Value Added Network usually offers some service or information that is not readily available on public  Services (VANS), which have recently been granted permission to convert to electronic communications network The transmission channels interconnecting all client and server stations as well as all supporting hardware and software.  services (ECNS) licences, are creating an exciting, emerging sector.

"This will create more independence and increase competition, offer more alternatives and eventually a reduction in pricing," says Tsouros.

West Africa

Arguably one of the most significant players in this region must be Nigeria. The mobile sector is dominated by MTN MTN

A short-form for Medium Term Note.


Medium term notes issued by corporations, much like shorter-term commercial paper.


See medium-term note (MTN).
 followed by Glo and Celtel. At the country's current growth rate, Nigeria is expected to surpass South Africa to become the continent's largest mobile market.

Johan Smith of KPMG South Africa lists continued convergence--such as integration of technological platforms enabling delivery of diverse service types and the implementation of the Universal Access Licensing regime by the Nigerian Communications Commission The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is the independent regulatory body for the Nigerian telecommunications industry. The NCC created under Decree number 75 by the Federal Military Government of Nigeria on 24th of November 1992. , which has spawned a wave of consolidations--as two of the core reasons for the country's emergence as a leader in the sector. "The UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) The GSM implementation of the 3G wireless phone system. Part of IMT-2000, UMTS provides service in the 2 GHz band and offers global roaming and personalized features.  licences recently issued to operators will enable them to enter the broadband access market in Nigeria," he says.

Fiercer competition with new entrants, which has been the case in most African countries undergoing deregulation, has also created an attractive proposition. "Infrastructure sharing/ co-location is a global best practice and heavily explored in European countries, Singapore and Australia for the roll out of 3G technologies and is currently being considered by Nigerian operators," says Smith.

The world's first borderless network was introduced to the Nigerian market in 2007 by Celtel. The service enables customers to use their mobile phones across country borders without a need for a roaming agreement or additional financial costs.

Burkina Faso has also begun to invest in its telecoms environment with incumbent Onatel receiving a cash injection through Maroc Telecom's acquisition of a 51% stake in the incumbent. This investment seems set to speed up development in the sector. Onatel currently has 400,000 mobile customers and a 35% market share in Burkina Faso. Telcel International and MSI-CI compete with the fixed-line operator in the mobile market.


Cost is the decisive factor in Cote d'lvoire's success in the ADSL market, with the West African nation offering speeds of up to 8Mb/s at very affordable rates.

East Africa

Kenya and Tanzania top the list in East Africa, with innovative roll-outs and telecommunications initiatives. Kenya, for example, has already rolled out a number of WiMax options. WiMax is also available in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

In Kenya, Celtel and Safaricom are the clear leaders with Safaricom, in which the state-owned Telkom Kenya has substantial shares, with the larger subscriber base. However, with its One Network solution, Celtel has been gaining market share throughout the sub-region. Safaricom's widely anticipated IPO (Initial Public Offering) The first time a company offers shares of stock to the public. While not a computer term per se, many founders, employees and insiders of computer companies have found this acronym more exciting than any tech term they ever heard.  in April fell below expectations largely because of a general lack of confidence in the country's economy following the political standoff between the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki and the opposition challenger Raila Oginga.

A robust telecommunications sector makes Tanzania an attractive investment option on the continent. The country has a fully competitive mobile sector comprising four networks and two fixed-line operators, according to Buddecom. Data users are the focus of both ISPs and mobile operators as competition for this market hots up with the introduction of 3G services and the legalisation n. 1. the act of legalizing; same as legalization.

Noun 1. legalisation - the act of making lawful
legalization, legitimation

group action - action taken by a group of people
 of VoIP.

Uganda has a competitive mobile environment with two new mobile licensees, Warid Telecom and HiTs Telecom, joining the three established operators MTN, Celtel and Uganda Telecom.

Informa Telecoms & Media forecasts 54m subscriptions by 2012 in Eastern Africa, a 73% growth since end of 2007. "Voice remains the major telecommunications service used in Eastern Africa but the data segment is also in expansion, fuelled by converged licensing frameworks and the deployment of technologies other than GSM," the business intelligence and strategic solutions provider says.

Overall there are 37 fixed and mobile operators in the Eastern region and over 20 ISPs.

Central Africa

As in other regions, mobile has been the growth area over the past year. Convergence has also increased opportunities and offerings within the region. In Cameroon, for example, fixed-line incumbent, Camtel, has gone mobile through a third national licence, which will see them entering the mobile environment.

Mobile operators such as MTN Cameroon and Orange CM, are establishing themselves as leading ISPs by introducing mobile data services and acquiring existing ISPs.

Boasting little in the form of fixed-line operations, DR Congo lags behind others on the continent, despite growth in mobile telephony which has replaced the fixed-line almost completely. Vodacom Congo (Congo-GSM), Celtel DRC DRC Democratic Republic of Congo
DRC Down (Stage) Right Center
DRC Director(ate) of Reserve Components
DRC Disability Rights Commission (United Kingdom) 
, CCT CCT Circuit
CCT Commission Canadienne du Tourisme (Canadian Tourism Commission)
CCT Correlated Color Temperature
CCT Common Customs Tariff (EU)
CCT Certificate of Completion of Training
, Millicom (Tigo) and Supercell are the mobile operators. Internet usage remains low, but with excellent potential for growth if the obstacles can be overcome.

The big picture

Interest in African telecoms remains robust. UAE (Uninterruptible Application Error) The name given to a crash in Windows 3.0. In subsequent versions of Windows, a crash was called a "General Protection Fault," "Application Error" or "Illegal Operation." See crash in Windows and abend.  telecoms incumbent Etisalat has $3.5bn to invest in Africa when opportunities arise and France Telecom has also shown interest in expanding its reach, having acquired mobile licences in Guinea Bissau and Guinea in March last year. The South African, Nigerian and Algerian markets together comprise almost half of the African telecommunications market, according to KPMG.

Satellite remains a vital technology for Africa and seems set to continue its stable growth. "Satellite is in a certain sense still one of the only ways for landlocked countries in Africa to connect with the rest of the world," says Tsouros.

"Regulation, penetration and competition lead to increased M&A activity and telecoms dominate the deal value in emerging markets," says Smith. "We expect to see further consolidation for operators to increase their footprints and offer new converged services. With the liberalisation n. 1. Same as liberalization.

Noun 1. liberalisation - the act of making less strict
liberalization, relaxation

alleviation, easement, easing, relief - the act of reducing something unpleasant (as pain or annoyance); "he asked the nurse
 of the telecoms industry, abnormal growth rates Growth Rates

The compounded annualized rate of growth of a company's revenues, earnings, dividends, or other figures.

Remember, historically high growth rates don't always mean a high rate of growth looking into the future.
 resulted. Growth will slow down in the next few years, but the market will continue to offer unique opportunities."
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Title Annotation:ITC in Africa
Comment:Moving into hi-tech: 3G spurs new growth.(ITC in Africa)
Author:Wright, Bianca
Publication:African Business
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:May 1, 2008
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