Chad’s telecom market showing steady revenue growth

During the last decade Chad’s economy has been dominated by oil exports, and as a result economic growth has been adversely affected by falling price of the commodity on international markets since late 2014. Economic difficulties, with a sharp fall in GDP recorded for 2016, have been exacerbated by civil unrest and by an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries. Declining revenue has encouraged the government to attempt to renegotiate the terms of licences which only grant it 12.5% of revenue from oil exports, while it has also endeavoured to access oil money held in an escrow account set up by the World Bank and intended to be used to alleviate poverty.

The country remains one of the least developed on the continent, while telecom infrastructure is particularly poor, with penetration rates in all sectors – fixed, mobile and internet –well below African averages. The two main operators Millicom International and Bharti Aircom have invested in infrastructure and have become the main providers of voice and data services. However, the difficult economic conditions of the country, compounded by a new 18% tax on telecom services which has adversely affected customer spend and consequently on operator revenue, have encouraged these players to consider exiting the market. Millicom earlier in 2017 was reported to be in discussions with Orange Group regarding a potential sale, while in May 2017 Bharti Aircom announced that Chad was one of its regional markets which it considered offloading. Nevertheless, despite difficult operating conditions, large scale poverty and low spending power, Chad’s telecom market offers some potential for investors to develop services given the low starting base.

The mobile sector has developed steadily under the auspices of Airtel Chad and Tigo Chad, while the national telco and fixed-line operator, Sotel Tchad (ST) operates the country’s third mobile network, as Salam Mobile. Salam Mobile is mainly focussed on voice services since its dependence on GPRS and EDGE technologies offer only basic mobile data services. The country’s first 3G/4G mobile licence was awarded in April 2014.

Chad finally gained access to international fibre bandwidth in 2012, but it still lacks a national backbone infrastructure to support efficient broadband services. However, the World Bank-funded Central African Backbone (CAB) project has made progress, and Chad is also party to a Trans-Saharan Backbone project which will link a fibre cable to Nigeria and Algeria.

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

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