Benin government set to restructure state-owned telcos

August 10th, 2017, by

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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Telecoms sector becomes increasingly important to Kuwait’s economy

August 9th, 2017, by

Kuwait offers a dynamic telecoms sector with a strong bias towards mobile infrastructure and services. The country offers opportunities due to its high penetration of mobile and vast LTE coverage – combined with an emerging mobile content and services sector.

The mobile operators in Kuwait are forging ahead and developing both infrastructure and services, with the three major operators of Zain Kuwait, VIVA and Ooredoo all offering LTE services as well as exploring 5G opportunities. In March 2017 Zain Kuwait and VIVA, in conjunction with Huawei and GSMA, successfully launched a VoLTE interconnection in Kuwait.

Kuwait has demonstrated strong growth in Internet users due primarily to the high ownership of smart phones amongst the population as well as a large number of households with access to either a computer or tablet.

The telecoms sector is growing in importance in Kuwait as the country looks to diversify its economy from its reliance on oil. The National Bank of Kuwait recently detected a year-on-year growth in profit contributed by the telecom sector.

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

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Myanmar sees the entry of a fourth Mobile Operator

August 8th, 2017, by

There has been a significant change to the telecom landscape over the past few years. This began with the entry of two foreign operators joining the former monopoly operator, Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT).

In 2017 they were joined by Myanmar National Tele & Communications (MNTC). MNTC will operate under the ‘Mytel’ brand name and make use of existing telecoms infrastructure currently owned or used by sister company MECTel.

Myanmar remains one of the last underdeveloped telecommunication markets in Asia, however this gap is being bridged quickly with a focus on mobile services and exploding growth in that sector. Mynanmar’s mobile market has experienced very rapid growth from 2013 to 2017, driven by the entry of three new competitors in the market. This has dramatically increased market competition. As the market is close to reaching maturity, a significant slowdown in growth is predicted over the next five years to 2022.

The fixed broadband market remains highly underdeveloped, mainly due to the dominance of the mobile platform and an unwillingness by operators to invest in fixed broadband infrastructure.

Mobile broadband has experienced very strong growth over the past few years, driven by rapid growth in the mobile sector. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years however at a slower rate due to increasing maturity in the market. The limited footprint of the nation’s fixed line networks and the limited access to PCs has kept fixed broadband penetration low, but created huge demand for data services on smartphones.

For detailed information, table of contents and pricing see: Myanmar (Burma) – Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media – Statistics and Analyses

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A major shakeout in the Indian mobile market is inevitable

August 7th, 2017, by

India continues to be one of the fastest growing major telecom markets in the world. It is also one of the largest. Sweeping reforms introduced by successive Indian governments over the last decade have dramatically changed the nature of telecommunications in the country. The Indian government has been proactive in its efforts to transform India into a global telecommunication hub.

A strong increase in the telecom subscribers base has necessitated network expansion covering a wider area, thereby creating a need for significant investment in telecom infrastructure. However the fixed line market in India remains highly underdeveloped due to the dominance of the mobile segment. Further, the number of fixed telephone lines is slowly declining as the mobile segment continues to expand.

India’s fixed broadband market remains highly under-developed due to the dominance of the mobile platform and in turn by the uptake of mobile broadband. Fixed broadband penetration is expected to grow at a moderate rate over the next five years to 2022 from a very small base.

The digital economy will help the country align to its goals of expanding the wider Indian economy as well as enhancing jobs. Sectors such as communications, including telecoms, IT services, eCommerce, FinTech and electronics manufacturing, are growing at a good pace.

In 2017 India was the fastest growing eCommerce market globally however India will take more than 10 years to reach the level of the US and China markets in online retail.

There are several trends in the Indian online education segment that are contributing to the growth opportunities ahead. These include a continuous need for working professionals to learn new skills as well as the emergence of technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence that  are enabling online education vendors to design customized content.

Video will remain the main driver for online content consumption. Increased uptake of VOD and catch-up TV, short format and original local video content along with high 4G data speeds will drive mobile data consumption.

India’s mobile market dominates the local telecom sector with its large subscriber base and revenue numbers, as well as the huge capital investment by operators. It has continued to be a highly competitive market in which a large number of providers have been battling to increase market share.

India’s mobile market has experienced very strong growth over the last five years. Market penetration is expected to reach over 90% by 2022.

Rather than a focus only on growth in subscribers the market is shifting to value-added. The roll-out of 4G / LTE services is driving significant shift to mobile data services across the country.

Market competition is intensifying in the mobile sector. Significant market consolidation amongst the mobile operators was underway in 2016 and 2017:

There was a very significant drop in ARPU during 2016-17 due to the entry of Jio into the mobile market. The subsequent price war has been intensifying in the mobile sector. A shake-out of the Indian mobile market is inevitable.

Mobile broadband penetration has grown strongly in India over the past few years, driven by a strong and growing mobile subscriber base. Going forward, the adoption of mobile broadband is expected to grow strongly as constraints in India around availability of network, ecosystem and affordability are addressed.

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

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Egypt’s MNOs receive LTE spectrum assignments

August 5th, 2017, by

Supported by a population of more than 90 million, Egypt has one of the largest telecom markets in North Africa. There is effective competition in most sectors, while one key development has been the recent award of unified licences to allow operators to offer services in the fixed-line and mobile sectors. The incumbent telco Telecom Egypt, still majority owned by the State, secured one of the licenses on offer in August 2016 which allows it to offer LTE services. The three mobile network operators, after initially failing to bid for the remaining three licenses, secured them in early 2017 and received spectrum assignments in June 2017. The operators are able to offer ‘virtual’ fixed-line services hosted by telecom Egypt’s infrastructure.

The country’s political crisis following the ‘Arab Spring’ revolution which began in 2011 adversely affected the telecom sector. Although revenue has remained stable, profit margins and capital expenditure have fallen due to a weaker local currency, especially since the beginning of 2013, and international investors have shown considerable caution. The government in recent months has endeavoured to secure billions of dollars in funding to develop technology parks and to extend broadband availability, and in the process to create jobs in ICT and rekindle international investor interest.

Efforts are underway to roll out next-generation networks, offering converged IP-based voice, data and entertainment services. Egypt is well connected by several international submarine fibre optic cables, while it also has an extensive national fibre backbone and some of Africa’s most vibrant FttP deployments. The recent connections to the MENA and SE-ME-WE 5 cables have significantly improved international bandwidth, and though this has helped reduce end-user access prices the country still has among the slowest internet data rates globally.

Egypt has one of the largest mobile telecom markets in Africa, with effective competition and a penetration rate above 111%. Although the country was among the first countries in the region to launch 3G mobile services, the development of LTE services has suffered from delays in issuing spectrum.

This report outlines the major developments in the Egyptian telecom sector, including updated statistics and profiles of the main operators as well as a range of regulatory developments. It also covers the mobile market, assessing measures related to spectrum awards and licensing, as well as emerging technologies and services including mobile TV and m-banking. In addition the report analyses the broadband sector, concentrating on DSL and the nascent FttP market as well as on wireless broadband.

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

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