Benin government set to restructure state-owned telcos

Development within Benin’s telecom market continues to be restricted by the poor condition of the country’s fixed-line infrastructure. The use of fixed-line voice and internet services is low, and consequently little revenue is derived from these sectors. Mobile networks account for almost all internet connections, and also carry most voice traffic. As such, it is this sector which is attracting most investment among operators. There has been some progress resulting from improved international internet connectivity and the rapidly escalating bandwidth available, which has led to lower access pricing for end-users. This additional bandwidth has assisted mobile network operators to expand their networks, and provided the necessary backhaul capacity to support the growing use of mobile data applications and service, including m-commerce and m-banking. Improved telecoms infrastructure has the potential to transform many areas of the country’s economy, bringing a greater proportion of the population into the orbit of internet commerce and connectivity.

The fixed-line monopoly operator be.Telecoms (rebranded from Benin Telecoms in October 2015) has also expanded its fixed-wireless and DSL-based broadband services in recent years, extending its national fibre backbone and international fibre connections. Long-established plans to privatise the company have thus far come to nought, though the government is developing its strategy to sell of the company’s assets, including the mobile services unit Libercom which will be spun off as a new entity with separate assets.

The mobile telephony sector enjoys effective competition between Libercom, South Africa’s MTN, Etisalat’s Moov, Globacom’s Glo Mobile, and Bell Benin. Competition among these players pushed market penetration about 87% by mid-2016.

Although fixed-line internet services have been available in Benin since 1995, access is limited to a small proportion of the population. Fixed-line internet represents only a small fraction of all accesses, with most connections being made via the mobile networks.

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

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