Henry Lancaster, Senior Analyst, BuddeComm


Henry Lancaster, Senior Analyst, BuddeComm

Henry arrived from the UK in 2002. His research background includes nine years as a university lecturer, followed by freelance work in a range of fields. He jointly set up a software company in 1998, providing CRM solutions to customers worldwide. Henry joined our research team in 2005 and is responsible for the European countries.

Posts by Henry:

Rwandan government commits to smart city investment

The Rwandan telecom market continues to develop strongly, buttressed by sustained GDP growth which has seen the country develop one the fastest-growing economies in the world. Supported by significant foreign aid, this growth has been helped by prudent fiscal and monetary policies which have create a business-friendly environment conducive to investment.

Nevertheless, poverty remains widespread. There is little economic diversity, with up to 99% of the population engaged in agriculture and in the mineral and agro-processing sectors. The financial services sector is also underdeveloped: with banks focussed on government borrowing there is little attention paid to the support of small businesses, and most of the population has little or no access to conventional banking services. In turn, this has made Rwanda one of the more successful markets on the continent for mobile banking and payment services.

Although the country was slow to liberalise the mobile sector, allowing South Africa’s MTN a monopoly until 2006 when the fixed-line incumbent, Rwandatel (since acquired by Liquid Telecom) became the second mobile operator, there is effective competition among the three current operators, each of which provides wide geographic coverage. The launch of services from Tigo in 2009 sparked renewed subscriber growth, though competition has eroded mobile services revenue and ARPU since then.

Rwanda’s internet and broadband sector has suffered from limited fixed-line infrastructure and high prices, but developments in the fixed network market are improving connectivity and reliability. The operators are rolling out national fibre-optic backbone networks which also allow them to connect to the international submarine fibre-optic cables on the African east coast. These cables have given the entire region fibre-based international bandwidth for the first time and brought to an end its dependency on satellites. During 2017 Liquid Telecom has continued to expand its FttP services across Kigali and a number of other towns.

Interest from investors in the country’s ICT sector remains strong. A deal with Korea Telecom has developed a wholesale LTE operator, Korea Telecom Rwanda Networks, which provides retail services to a number of fixed-line operators as well as to the mobile network operators. The number of subscribers on LTE infrastructure increased 200% in 2016, year-on-year.

This report contains an overview and analysis of Rwanda’s telecommunications market, profiles of the major players in all market sectors, relevant statistics and analysis, and scenario forecasts to 2021 for the country’s mobile market.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Rwanda – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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Cameroon anticipating SAIL submarine cable link with Brazil

The ICT sector in Cameroon contributes only about 3.5% of GDP, which is low for the region. The sector requires considerable development for the country to make better use of the digital economy. To this end the government has in train its ‘Cameroon Digital 2020’ program, aimed at improving connectivity nationally. A large number of small ICT projects form part of the overall program. The country will greatly benefit from the SAIL submarine cable providing a direct link to Brazil, and so onto other countries in the Americas. The cable, expected to be ready for service in late 2018, will improve international bandwidth and lead to further reductions in access prices for consumers.

Cameroon was for many years one of the few countries in Africa with only two competing mobile operators, MTN Cameroon and Orange Cameroon. After some delays, Nextell Cameroon majority-owned by Viettel) launched a third network in late 2014, including the country’s first 3G mobile service. The operator has grown swiftly, signing up more than three million subscribers and claiming a 16% market share. Competition in 3G followed in early 2015 when both MTN and Orange launched services. Mobile broadband based on LTE was established at the end of 2015 and this has been the catalyst for a fast-developing mobile broadband sector. The investment programs among operators over the next few years will considerably boost mobile broadband services in rural areas of the country, many of which are underserved by fixed-line infrastructure.

Fixed-line penetration in the country is extremely low, and the privatisation of Camtel’s fixed-line business has failed several times. Given these condition, fixed-line services are relatively insignificant in terms of internet connectivity.

Further development is quickening in mobile banking and commerce, with both the MTN Money and Orange Money platforms making considerable progress in facilitating services for customers, the number of which approaches six million.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Cameroon – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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Djibouti Internet Exchange joins the African IXP Association

Djibouti is one of the few remaining countries in which the national telco, Djibouti Telecom (DT), has a monopoly on all telecom services, including fixed lines, mobile, internet and broadband. The lack of competition has meant that the market has not lived up to its potential. While domestic infrastructure remains poor, the country is one of the best connected for fibre optic international cables the region. The Djibouti Internet Exchange is a meeting point for a number of cable systems passing between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. Despite this connectivity, broadband services in Djibouti remain very expensive, which continues to hold back the full growth potential of the sector. Growth in the mobile and internet markets is accelerating in line with DT’s investment in its mobile network. However, competition and foreign investment are both required for the telecoms market to show solid development in coming years. In preparation for this, DT itself is forging international alliances, and has been a key investor in cables including the DARE and AWE systems.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Djibouti – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses

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Kenya’s telecom regulator looks closely at Safaricom’s market dominance

Kenya’s telecommunications market continues to undergo considerable changes resulting from increased competition, improved international connectivity and rapid developments in the mobile market. The wholesale price for broadband has fallen dramatically in recent, benefitting consumers in both the fixed and mobile segments. The incumbent fixed-line telco, Telkom Kenya, which was managed by Orange Group from 2007 until it was sold to Helios in November 2015, has struggled to make headway in the competitive market.

The broadband market has been transformed by a combination of increased investments in network upgrades among the key providers. A number of major FttP rollouts have been undertaken, which have pushed fast broadband connectivity to a greater number of subscribers. Most broadband subscribers remain on mobile networks. These are being migrated from the dominant 3G segment to LTE as this technology is built out by operators. A range of services including video streaming, e-commerce, e-learning and e-government are evolving rapidly on the back of this improved infrastructure.

Kenya’s mobile market has continued to grow steadily, supported by a mobile subscriber base of about 39 8 million by early 2017. Some market consolidation occurred following the acquisition by Airtel and Safaricom of Essar Telecom’s yuMobile business. While all network operators have invested in mobile technologies and infrastructure upgrades to support mobile data services, competition has nevertheless presented challenges to their profitability, with uneven revenue growth reported in recent years. While Orange Group was the principal casualty of competition, leading it to sell its stake in Telkom Kenya, Safaricom has seen very strong growth on the back of its popular M-PESA payment platform. This market dominance, however, has encouraged the government to consider recommendations from a report commissioned by the regulator in late 2016 that Safaricom split –off its M-PESA business.

To encourage the development of LTE services the government has pursued an open-access approach. Disputes centered on licence fees delayed the launch of LTE services by MNOs, though they continued to invest in infrastructure and technology upgrades using trial licences.

A number of MVNO licences awarded since 2014 have added to the competitive mix, with Equitel establishing a market share of about 3.8% by early 2017.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Kenya – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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Macedonia’s mobile market dominated by two MNOs

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Macedonia) has been a European Union (EU) candidate country since 2005. As part of the EU pre-accession process, the country has built closer economic ties with the Union: the EU accounts for 60% of Macedonia’s exports and about half of its imports. Closer regulatory and administrative ties with European Commission (EC) institutions have done much to develop the telecom sector and prepare the market for the competitive environment encouraged in the EU.

As part of EU integration legislation has implemented the principles of the EU’s regulatory framework for communications, established an independent regulator and set out a number of provisions to provide for a competitive telecom market, including wholesale access to the incumbent’s fixed-line network. Although the fixed telephony market has been liberalised, the incumbent MakTel continues to dominate the sector. Broadband services are widely available, with effective competition between DSL and cable platforms complemented by wireless broadband and a fast developing fibre sector. Into 2016 the number of DSL subscribers has continue to fall as customers are migrated to fibre networks.

Macedonia’s mobile market is now served by only two mobile network operators, MakTel and one.Vip, the latter being formed by the merger of the local business units of Telekom Slovenije and Telekom Austria. One.Vip in May 2016 was also merged with its sister company Blizoo, and so has been able to provide a full suite of converged services. Mobile data services are becoming increasingly important following investments in LTE network rollouts and in upgrades to LTE-A technology.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Macedonia – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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