BMI's Q3 2012 report on the telecommunications markets of West and Central Africa contains the latest five-year forecasts for the fixed-line telephony, mobile subscriber and internet sectors of seven countries: Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal. Our growth forecasts for these seven countries, which extend to the end of 2016, are based on YE11 market data published by the region's operators and telecoms regulators.
The mobile sector continues to be the most active in West and Central Africa, mainly because of market liberalisation and investment from major regional operators, including France's Orange (present in Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali and Senegal), Luxembourg's Millicom (in Senegal and the DRC) and Morocco's Maroc Telecom (in Gabon, Mali and Mauritania). Other regional telecoms investors include South Africa's MTN and Vodacom, Sudan's Sudatel, India's Bharti Airtel and Atlantique Telecom, which is owned by Etisalat of the UAE. Towards the end of this report, we publish profiles on Orange, MTN, Maroc Telecom and Atlantique Telecom, surveying the regional activities of these four operators.
The major industry-specific and macroeconomic developments since our last update that are likely to affect the telecoms markets of some countries in the region include the award of a 3G licence in Côte d'Ivoire, the launch of the West Africa Cable System (WACS) and the deterioration of the security situation in Mali. BMI expects the arrival 3G services in Côte d'Ivoire and other countries in the region, and access to efficient and cost-effective international bandwidth from submarine cables to boost internet services in the region. In Mali the worsening security situation should be worrying for existing operators and the Cable & Wireless-backed consortium, which won the third mobile licence in January 2012.
The rapid growth of 3G and other wireless data networks supports our view that wireless broadband technologies will be the main form of internet access in Africa. We expect the increasing availability of low-cost smartphones and the growth of social networking and e-government services to drive take-up of 3G services. We have not significantly upgraded our internet and broadband penetration forecast for the seven countries in our Q312 West and Central Africa report. We do note that the timely deployment of 3G networks poses an upside risks to our forecast and will be reflected in our subsequent updates.
Meanwhile, the 17,000km, 5.1Tbps ACE submarine cable system is due to go live in H212 in countries along the West coast of Africa, including Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire and Cameroon. This will follow the commercial launch of the 14,000km WACS submarine cable with landing points in Côte'Ivoire, Cameroon and DRC. Mali is the only country in the region without direct access to a submarine cable because of its geographic location. We expect it to seek access through terrestrial cable networks running through its neighbours that have direct access to one or more submarine cables. But as mentioned previously, the ongoing security challenges in the country could have a negative effect on public and private funding high-value infrastructure such as fibre-optic networks.The price of this market report covers 4 quarterly reports on this sector. This quarterly report will be downloadable instantly as a PDF document, with the 3 remaining reports delivered at regular intervals throughout the year.
Click for Report details:West and Central Africa Telecommunications Report Q3 2012