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2006 - Africa Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Central and Eastern Regions


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Low fixed-line teledensity and Internet penetration and the explosive growth of mobile telephony (particularly prepaid) are the chief characteristics of the telecom markets in the Central and Eastern region of Africa. Every country in this group has an independent telecom regulator overseeing the further development of the sector. Several key countries in the region have privatised their incumbent telcos, liberalised the use of VoIP Internet telephony and are implementing new competition frameworks, with others to follow in the near future. Advanced technologies and services are being rolled out, promising the long-awaited cost reduction and improved availability of telecommunications.

The telecommunications sector in Cameroon has in the past few years undergone considerable transformations following the privatisation of the mobile subsidiary of the PTO, the award of a second mobile and fixed-line licence and the preparation for privatisation of Camtel which is now scheduled for 2006. Mobile penetration has increased dramatically from 0.02% in 1999 to over 12% in 2005. With the participation of foreign investors in the national operator after privatisation, network expansion and introduction of new services can be expected. Despite full competition in the Internet sub-sector, it is still under-developed with a user penetration of around 1%. The government is committed to the development of the sector and is instituting measures to invite greater participation and investment.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire, is a mineral-rich country that is recovering from civil strife and many years of pillage by its former leaders which has accounted for the low level of development of its telecommunications and other infrastructure. While the traditional fixed-line network has deteriorated to almost non-existence, mobile telephony has experienced triple-digit growth figures almost every year since 2000, from less than 8,000 subscribers in 1996 to almost three million towards the end of 2005. Wireless technologies also serve as a replacement of the obsolete fixed network infrastructure and public payphones. National teledensity remains extremely low, creating enormous potential for the provision of basic services. There is also strong demand for Internet service which is hampered by the underdeveloped telecoms infrastructure.

Ethiopia still practices a monopoly in almost all segments of its telecoms sector. Total telephone line penetration remains very low. However, the government is intent on privatising the national operator, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation, and introducing competition in mobile and Internet services. The mobile sector has been growing by 100% or more per annum in recent years, taking the network to its capacity limits and resulting in major infrastructure expansion efforts. Massive broadband initiatives launched during 2004 and 2005 aim at bringing the country closer to the information society and enabling it to leapfrog to a Next-Generation Network. The national operator, ETC, has budgeted a record amount for the financial year 2005/2006 for infrastructure improvements.

2005 has been a year of uncertainty for Kenya’s telecommunications market, but the path of liberalisation taken by the country’s regulator seems irreversible. The planned privatisation of a majority stake in Telkom Kenya has been postponed to 2006, and the validity of the country’s third mobile licence is still uncertain. At the same time, however, Telkom’s monopoly in the provision of Internet backbone and international bandwidth services broken, immediately leading to massive price reductions and better services in these sectors. ADSL and wireless broadband technologies have been introduced, and VoIP Internet telephony has been liberalised. A WiMAX network is being rolled out with the aim of providing converged voice, data and video/broadband TV (triple-play) services. Even though mobile phones already outnumber fixed lines by around 20:1, the introduction of mobile number portability and the permission for mobile networks to operate their own international gateways from 2006 are expected to give further impetus to the market. Enormous further potential remains, with mobile and fixed-line penetration only at around 15% and 1%, respectively.

Tanzania has a fully competitive mobile sector comprising four networks, and two fixed-line operators. The country’s Internet market remains largely untapped owing to limited fixed-line infrastructure. However, following the partial privatisation of the incumbent telco and the end of its monopoly in 2005, more pervasive fixed-line and Internet services can be expected, mainly driven by wireless systems. VoIP Internet telephony was liberalised under a new competition framework in 2005 and ADSL broadband services were introduced. A new submarine fibre optic cable to be launched in 2006 will dramatically improve Tanzania’s international connectivity while the country’s utility companies are preparing to sell capacity on their fibre networks.

The entry of a Second National Operator (SNO) and three mobile networks has revolutionised Uganda’s telecoms sector. All market segments are experiencing strong growth, while total teledensity is still low at less than 7%. Advanced services including ISDN, ADSL, GPRS and wireless broadband access are being offered. Major initiatives have been launched to bring telecommunication services and the Internet to rural areas of the country, partly funded by the highly successful operators through a Universal Service Fund (USF). A new competition framework has been announced which will include the liberalisation of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, the licensing of a third national operator, and a fourth mobile operator to operate a Third Generation (3G) mobile network.

This report provides information on Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Each country has its own chapter and covers the following subjects.

  • Key Statistics
  • Market Overview
  • Regulatory Environment
  • Major Players
  • Infrastructure
  • Fixed network Services
  • Data
  • Internet
  • Broadband
  • Convergence
  • Mobile Communications
  • Broadcasting


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • CAMEROON
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Cameroon - 2004
      • Table Telephone network statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - September 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Cameroon's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Sector reorganisation and liberalisation
      • Regulatory authority
      • Privatisation of Camtel
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National and international
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2004
    • MAJOR FIXED-LINE PLAYERS IN CAMEROON
      • Camtel
      • Pastel
    • DATA MARKET
      • Data network
      • VSAT networks
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Cameroon
        • Table Internet users - 1997 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1997 - 2004
      • Internet access locations
      • Cameroon's ISP market
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Cameroon's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and market share - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Satellite mobile
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
  • DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Democratic Republic of Congo - 2004
      • Table Telephone network statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - September 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of DRC's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Overview
      • Regulatory authority
      • Competition in the telecom sector
      • Privatisation of OCPT
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National and international
        • Table Fixed telephone lines and teledensity - 1995 - 2004
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in DRC
        • Table Internet users - 1996 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
      • Internet access locations
      • ISP market
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Market overview
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
      • Television and radio broadcasting in DRC
  • ETHIOPIA
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Ethiopia - 2004
      • Table Telephone network statistics - June 2005
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - September 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Ethiopia's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom service licences
      • Telecom sector liberalisation
        • Table Legal status of telecoms services in Ethiopia
      • Privatisation of Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATOR IN ETHIOPIA
      • Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2005
      • International communications links
    • DATA MARKET
      • Digital Data Network
      • PADISnet
      • VSAT networks
    • INTERNET AND BROADBAND MARKET
      • Overview of Ethiopia's Internet market
        • Table Internet users - 1996 - 2004
        • Table Internet subscribers - 2002 - 2005
        • Table Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
      • National connectivity
      • Internet regulatory issues
      • Internet access locations
      • ISP market
      • Direcway broadband satellite network
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Ethiopia's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1999 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Satellite mobile
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
      • Regulatory overview
      • Free to air TV
      • Satellite TV
  • KENYA
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Kenya - 2005
      • Table Telephone network statistics - June 2005
      • Table Internet provider statistics - June 2005
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - September 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Kenya's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Kenya Communications Act 1998
      • Regulatory authority
      • Tariff regulation
      • Foreign ownership
      • Number portability
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Kenya
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATOR IN KENYA
      • Telkom Kenya Ltd
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and annual change - 1995 - 2005
      • Kenya Data Networks (KDN)
      • Kenya Light and Power Company (KPLC)
      • Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC)
      • International infrastructure
    • DATA MARKET
      • Overview
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Kenya
        • Table Internet users and annual change - 1996 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
      • Internet access locations
      • Internet backbone
      • Kenya Internet exchange point
      • Kenya Network Information Centre (KENIC)
      • Kenya's ISP market
      • Broadband in Kenya
      • VoIP telephony
      • Triple Play
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Kenya's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers and annual change - 1996 - 2005
      • Interconnection
      • International gateways
      • Mobile number portability (MNP)
      • Equipment Identification Register (EIR)
      • Major mobile operators
      • Mobile voice services
      • Mobile data services
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
      • Regulatory overview
      • Free-to-air TV
      • Pay TV
  • TANZANIA
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Tanzania - 2004
      • Table Telephone network statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - September 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Tanzania's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Background
      • National Telecommunications Policy 1997
      • National ICT Policy 2003
      • New regulatory framework 2005
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Tanzania
        • Table Licences issued as at 2004
      • Privatisation of Tanzania Telecom
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS IN TANZANIA
      • Tanzania Telecommunications Co Ltd
      • Zanzibar Telecommunications Corporation
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2004
      • International infrastructure
    • DATA MARKET
      • Data operators
      • VSAT networks
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Tanzania
        • Table Internet users - 1996 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
      • Internet access locations
      • Tanzania's ISP market
      • Broadband
      • VoIP telephony
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Tanzania's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
      • Television broadcasting in Tanzania
      • Public TV broadcasters
      • Private TV broadcasters
  • UGANDA
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Uganda - 2005
      • Table Telephone network statistics - September 2005
      • Table Internet provider statistics - September 2005
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - September 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Uganda's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Background
      • Telecommunications policy 1996
      • Uganda communications act 1997
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Uganda
      • Privatisation of Uganda Telecom
      • New competition framework 2005
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS IN UGANDA
      • Uganda Telecom Ltd
      • MTN Uganda Ltd
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2005
      • International infrastructure
    • DATA MARKET
      • Data infrastructure
        • Table Total data uplink and downlink capacity - 1998 - 2004
        • Table VSAT users
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Uganda
        • Table Internet users - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1997 - 2004
      • Uganda Internet Exchange Point (UiXP)
      • Internet access locations
      • Internet initiatives
      • Uganda's ISP market
        • Table Licensed ISPs in Uganda
      • Overview of selected ISPs
    • BROANDBAND MARKET
      • VoIP telephony
    • CONVERGENCE
      • E-commerce
      • E-government
      • Broadcasting
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Uganda's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table MTN Uganda subscribers - 2000 - 2005
        • Table MTN Uganda Average Revenue per Subscriber (ARPU) - 2001 - 2005
      • Satellite mobile
  • GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS

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