Mauritius government unveils Smart Mauritius strategy
The island nation of Mauritius benefits from an advanced and innovative telecom sector. It was the first market in the greater Africa region to launch cellular systems (in 1989), the first to provide commercial 3G mobile service (2004), the first in the world to develop a nationwide WiMAX wireless broadband network (2005), and one of the first to launch IPTV services (2006). 4G services based on LTE have also been launched, providing data at up to 100Mb/s.
With strong tourism and financial services sectors, Mauritius's economy is expected to continue growing at more than 4% per year.
The incumbent telco, Mauritius Telecom has been partially privatised and now benefits from the scale and technical prowess of France Telecom/Orange, which holds a 40% interest in the operator. All sectors of the market are open to competition. Served by a modern, digital fixed-line network, fibre optic submarine cables for international connectivity, three mobile networks, a number of broadband and other service providers, Mauritius is successfully pursuing a policy to make telecommunications the fifth pillar of its economy and to become a regional telecom hub with Singapore as a role model. The government has been active in promoting its national broadband policy, and also been instrumental in securing infrastructure upgrades, including an upgrade for satellite connectivity to Rodrigues, which became operational in mid-2013.
The mobile market, with penetration at 122%, is migrating from voice to data services. There are three GSM networks Orange (Mauritius Telecom in partnership with France Telecom/Orange), Emtel (operated by Millicom International) and Mahanagar, a subsidiary of India's MTNL which is also the islands second fixed-line operator using CDMA2000 technology.
The highest growth rates are currently seen in the mobile broadband sector, where HSPA and EV-DO based 3G services are competing with fixed-line DSL and other wireless broadband offerings, including WiMAX. FttC and FttP rollouts are in progress and have already brought 100Mb/s connections to businesses, with nearly nationwide coverage planned for 2015. The landing of a second international submarine fibre optic cable has brought prices down further in a broadband market that was already one of Africa's most developed.
MTML launches LTE services; Bharti Enterprises acquires a 25% stake in Emtel; Orange increase DSL and fibre speeds; Government unveils Smart Mauritius program; Mauritius Telecom appoints new CEO and makes changes to the Board; Bharat Telecom launches phase two of its fibre broadband project; Mauritius Telecom reports fall in revenue but continues investment in national fibre network; Millicom sells its stake in Emtel to Currimjee Jeewanjee; Mauritius Telecom to expand the reach of its 30Mb/s service to 60% of households by end-2015; National Broadband Policy aiming for 100Mb/s availability nationally by 2020; Regulator sets up an internet service capped at Rs200 per month to encourage connectivity, subsidised by the Universal Service Fund; Report update includes telcos' operating data to Q1 2015, regulator's market data to December 2014, recent market developments.
Estimated market penetration rates in Mauritius's telecoms sector end-2015 (e) Market | Penetration rate Mobile | 133% Fixed | 30% Internet | 61% (Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)