Our Q413 West and Central Africa report analyses latest industry, regulatory and macroeconomic developments in the telecoms markets of seven countries: Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. In addition to analysis of the latest market data, the report contains updated five-year forecasts, through to 2017, for the mobile, fixedline and internet sectors.
- The average mobile market growth for the seven countries in our coverage in Q213 was 3.9%.
- Mali recorded the highest quarterly growth at 9.2%, while Mauritania recorded a contraction of 0.5%.
- The average mobile penetration rate in the seven countries was 97.2% at the end of Q213. Gabon had the highest penetration rate at 195.6%, while DRC had the lowest at 27.7%.
- Gabon had the highest internet penetration at 32.0%, while DRC had the lowest at 2.4%.
Key Trends & Developments
In July 2013, Senegal telecoms company Sonatel announced its results for the first half of 2013, reporting a 4.6% year-on-year rise in net profits, to XOF91bn (US$182mn), and a 10.3% year-on-year rise in revenues, from XOF324bn to XOF357bn (US$715.7mn). The operator attributed revenue growth during this period to increased uptake of mobile data services, reporting a mobile broadband subscriber base of 1mn for H113.
Besides Senegal, Sonatel also has operations in Guinea, Mali and Guinea-Bissau. However, we expect the majority of the growth in mobile data subscribers to have been in Senegal, which is Sonatel's most important market. As terrestrial links improve over the medium term, we expect to see strong uptake in mobile data services across the company's footprint.
In July 2013, Cote d'Ivoire's Minister of Technology, Information and Communication Bruno Nabagne Kone announced a US$210mn government-funded fibre rollout project. According to Kone, the planned 6,700km fibre network will bring coverage to 30% of the population by 2018. Kone announced that Huawei started the first stage of the project in 2012, a 1,400km cable through the west of Cote d'Ivoire from San Pedro to Ferkessedougou, which should be completed by the end of 2013. It has also started work on the second phase, a 650km cable linking Grand-Bassam and Abidjan in the southeast to Bouna in northeast. The final three stages are set to start in 2014 and will connect the country's central regions.
In August 2013, Viettel Cameroon, a joint venture between Vietnam's Viettel Global and Bestinver Cameroon, signed an agreement with US-based technology and consulting firm IBM. Under the deal, Viettel will use IBM's Smarter Computing solution to enable the operator's 3G infrastructure and render high speed mobile data and voice services. The new platform will be based on IBM System x servers, IBM Smarter Storage systems and IBM DB2 software. IBM's computing solutions will enable Viettel to provide next-generation wireless services at reduced costs.