Market Research Logo

2006 - Africa Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband Northern Region


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

Northern Africa is home to some of the most developed telecom markets on the continent and features some of the world’s fastest growing fixed-line markets in Sudan and Egypt. All countries in this group except for landlocked Chad have well developed fixed-line infrastructures and direct access to international submarine fibre optic cables, and all but Chad and Libya are among the relatively few African countries offering commercial ADSL services. Tunisia has the highest overall teledensity in the region thanks to its booming mobile market. The IPOs of Maroc Telecom in 2004 and Telecom Egypt in 2005 were heavily oversubscribed. Privatisation of the PTOs in Algeria and Tunisia are planned for 2006 and is also on the near-term agenda in Chad. Alternative fixed-line operators have been licensed in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Sudan, and new mobile licences are expected in Egypt and Morocco in 2006, including concessions for Third Generation (3G) mobile services. 3G will also be launched in Algeria, Libya and Sudan.

Algeria’s mobile market exceeded all expectations in 2005 when it continued to grow by around 200% for the fourth year in a row and soared past the 40% market penetration mark. The countrys fixed-line market lags behind the other relatively affluent North African countries, but accelerated developments in this sector can be expected in 2006 resulting from the upcoming privatisation of the countrys incumbent telco, Algerie Telecom, the recently licensed second fixed-line operator and seven VoIP Internet telephony providers. Improved fixed-line infrastructure will also stimulate the countrys underdeveloped Internet market, as will the introduction of 3G mobile technology which is currently being trialed.

The recent discovery of oil, resulting in a 38% GDP growth, is set to bring Chad lsome of the foreign investment it urgently needs to upgrade its telecom facilities and other infrastructure. The country has some of the worlds lowest penetration rates for fixed-line, mobile and Internet services. Competition exists only in the mobile sector. Despite impressive growth, one of the then two mobile networks in the country ceased operations in mid-2004 due to an unresolved dispute with the government, but a third licence was awarded in November of the same year with operations commencing in October 2005. Internet usage increased fourfold in 2004. Other expected developments moving into 2006 include the partial privatisation of the national operator, Sotel Tchad.

Egypt's telecom sector is performing consistently well with most sub-sectors being open to competition. Around 3,000 new fixed lines are installed in the country every day, which has helped to reduce the waiting list by around 90% in recent years. The incumbent telco, Telecom Egypt, is highly profitable and was partially privatised through an IPO at the end of 2005. The end of its fixed-line monopoly in 2006 will open up new opportunities for competitive service providers, as will the award of a third mobile licence which will include a concession to provide both 2G and 3G mobile services. Egypt has the fourth largest mobile market in Africa and the largest Internet market on the continent. VoIP Internet telephony has been liberalised, residential ADSL2+ broadband services have been introduced, and several companies are rolling out Next Generation Networks (NGN) to provide converged voice and data services.

Libya is emerging from almost two decades of economic isolation, which contributed to the stagnation of its oil industry, the mainstay of its economy, and invariably its telecoms sector. It is now taking steps to introduce more relaxed market policies with a view to attracting foreign participation in key sectors including telecommunications. Despite the economic isolation and having an old style monopoly player for the provision of posts and telecommunications services, its fixed-line network is superior to those in many other African countries. In sharp contrast, the mobile sub-sector remained underdeveloped, but growth has been accelerating with the introduction of a second GSM network in 2004. 3G mobile technology is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2006.

Since sector reforms were instituted in the 1990s, Morocco’s telecom market has experienced excellent growth. The chief contributor has been the mobile sector where competition was introduced in 2000, driving the number of subscribers past the 12 million mark during 2005, compared with less than 400,000 in 1999. In sharp contrast, the fixed network has declined since 1999 but has been seeing a recovery since 2003, driven by soaring demand for Internet access and ADSL broadband services. The recent award of a second and third fixed-line licence, the latter including a limited mobility concession, will provide further stimulus to the sector. Incumbent operator, Maroc Telecom was partially privatised in 2001 and floated on the Paris and Casablanca stock exchanges in 2004, being 50 times oversubscribed. Two 3G mobile licences are expected in 2006 and the sale of a further 25% of Maroc Telecom in 2007.

With a CAGR of around 40% since the late 1990s, Sudan represents the by far fastest growing fixed telephony market not only in Africa but worldwide. Annual telecommunications investment has skyrocketed from only US$500,000 in 1994 to over US$100 million. Enormous further potential exists since the countrys market penetration is still only around 3% for fixed-line and Internet usage and 5% for mobile services. ADSL broadband services were introduced in 2004, a second mobile network commenced operations in July 2005 and a second fixed-line operator in November. The majority stake in the countrys leading mobile network was sold in early-2006 for a record price. Under a recent peace agreement, the oil-rich south of the country which has been beyond the central governments control and deprived of development, is now establishing its own independent telecommunications regime, creating huge new opportunities for service providers and equipment suppliers.

As a result of heavy investments in the telecom sector since the mid-1990s, Tunisia now has one of the most developed telecommunications infrastructures in Northern Africa with a fixed-line teledensity of more than 12% and mobile penetration exceeding 50%. The mobile sector has experienced exceptional growth, especially since a second operator was licensed in 2002. Various 3G trial systems have been installed and as one of the first in Africa the country saw its first 3G call made in 2004. Internet access is available country-wide with a fibre optic backbone and international access via submarine cables, terrestrial and satellite links. In 2006 the focus is on the privatisation of a 35% stake in the incumbent telco, Tunisie Telecom, in which 14 international companies have shown interest.

This report provides information on Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia. 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
  • ALGERIA
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Algeria - 2004
      • Table Telephone network statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Algeria's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Historic background
      • Law of 2000
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Algeria
      • Privatisation of Algerie Telecom
      • Interconnection
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATOR IN ALGERIA
      • Algerie Telecom
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2004
      • International infrastructure
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Algeria
        • Table Internet users - 1996 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
      • Internet cafes
      • Algeria's ISP market
      • VoIP
      • E-services
    • BROADBAND MARKET
      • ADSL
      • Satellite broadband
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Algeria's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth - 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Third Generation (3G) mobile systems
      • Satellite mobile
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
      • Overview
      • Satellite TV
  • CHAD
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Chad - 2004
      • Table Telephone network statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - June 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Chad's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Telecommunications Act 1998
      • Regulatory authority
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATOR IN CHAD
      • Sotel Tchad
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2004
      • International infrastructure
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Chad
        • Table Internet users - 1998 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1998 - 2004
      • VoIP telephony
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Chad's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 2000 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table Tchad Mobile subscribers - 2001 - 2004
      • Satellite mobile
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
  • EGYPT
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Egypt - 2005
      • Table Telephone network statistics - 2005
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2005
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2005
      • Table Mobile statistics - 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Egypt's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Background
      • Creation of a new regulatory framework
      • Legislative reform
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecommunications Master Plan
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Egypt
        • Table Licences issued - December 2005
      • Privatisation of Telecom Egypt
      • Interconnection
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS IN EGYPT
      • Telecom Egypt
      • Orascom Telecom
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2005
        • Table National and regional fibre networks
        • Table Public payphones per operator - 2002 - 2005
      • International infrastructure
    • FIXED VOICE MARKET
      • National and international call traffic
    • DATA MARKET
      • Data service operators
      • VSAT networks
      • Data centres
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Egypt
        • Table Internet users and penetration - 1995 - 2005
        • Table Internet host computers - 1995 - 2005
      • Internet gateways
      • Cairo Regional Internet Exchange (CRIX)
      • Internet access locations
      • Egypt's ISP Market
    • BROADBAND MARKET
      • Broadband initiative
      • xDSL
      • Wireless broadband
    • CONVERGENCE
      • VoIP telephony
      • Next Generation Networks (NGN)
      • E-commerce
      • Smart Village
      • Technology incubators
      • Information Highway Project
      • E-government
      • Egypt's broadcasting market
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Egypt's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator - 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1996 - 2005
      • Regulatory issues
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table MobiNil subscribers - 1998 - 2005
        • Table Vodafone Egypt subscribers - 1998 - 2005
      • Mobile voice services
      • Mobile data services
  • LIBYA
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Libya - 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
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Libya's telecom market
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2004
      • International infrastructure
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Libya
        • Table Internet users - 1999 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1998 - 2004
      • VoIP
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Libya's mobile market
      • Mobile statistics
        • Table Mobile subscribers and annual growth by operator - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1998 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • 3G
      • Satellite mobile
    • BROADCASTING MARKET
      • Television broadcasting in Libya
      • Pay TV
  • MOROCCO
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Morocco - 2005
      • Table Telephone network statistics - September 2005
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2004
      • Table Internet user statistics - 2004
      • Table Mobile statistics - 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Morocco's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Telecommunications Law 1997
      • Telecom law amendments 2002
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Morocco
      • Privatisation of Maroc Telecom
      • Universal service
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATOR IN MOROCCO
      • Maroc Telecom
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1994 - 2005
      • International infrastructure
    • INTERNET MARKET
      • Overview of the Internet in Morocco
        • Table Internet users - 1997 - 2004
        • Table Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
      • MARWAN network
      • Internet connectivity
      • Morocco's ISP market
    • BROADBAND MARKET
      • ADSL
      • Wireless broadband
    • CONVERGENCE
      • VoIP telephony
      • E-commerce
      • Tele-education
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Morocco's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers and annual growth by operator - 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers and penetration - 1994 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • 3G
      • Satellite mobile
    • BROADCASTING
      • Television and radio broadcasting in Morocco
      • Free-to-air TV
      • Satellite TV
  • SUDAN
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Sudan - 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 Sudan's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Background
      • Regulatory authority
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Sudan
      • Privatisation of Sudatel
    • FIXED NETWORK OPERATORS IN SUDAN
      • Sudan Telecommunications Co Ltd
        • Table Sudan Telecommunications Co Ltd
      • Kanartel (Canar Telecom)
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1994 - 2004
      • International infrastructure
      • Southern Sudan
    • INTERNET AND BROADBAND MARKETS
      • Overview of the Internet in Sudan
        • Table Internet users - 1997 - 2004
      • Sudan Internet Society (SiS)
      • Sudan's ISP market
        • Table Sudan's ISP market
      • Broadband market
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Sudan's mobile market
        • Table GSM mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1996 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
      • Satellite mobile
    • BROADCASTING
      • Radio and TV broadcasting in Sudan
  • TUNISIA
    • KEY STATISTICS
      • Table Country statistics Tunisia - 2005
      • Table Telephone network statistics - August 2005
      • Table Internet provider statistics - 2005
      • Table Internet user statistics - August 2005
      • Table Mobile statistics - September 2005
      • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
      • Overview of Tunisia's telecom market
    • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
      • Background
      • Telecommunications Act 2001
      • Regulatory authorities
      • Telecom sector liberalisation in Tunisia
      • Privatisation of Tunisie Telecom
    • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
      • National telecom network
        • Table Fixed lines in service and teledensity - 1995 - 2005
      • International infrastructure
    • DATA MARKET
      • Market overview
    • INTERNET AND BROADBAND MARKETS
      • Overview of the Internet in Tunisia
        • Table Internet users - 1995 - 2005
        • Table Internet host computers - 1996 - 2004
      • Agence Tunisienne d'Internet (ATI)
      • Internet access locations
      • Tunisia's ISP market
      • Broadband market
    • CONVERGENCE
      • E-commerce
    • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
      • Overview of Tunisia's mobile market
        • Table Mobile subscribers by operator and annual growth - September 2005
        • Table Mobile subscribers - 1995 - 2005
      • Major mobile operators
        • Table Tunisiana subscribers - 2002 - 2005
      • 3G
      • Satellite mobile
    • BROADCASTING
      • TV broadcasting
      • Satellite TV
  • GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS

Download our eBook: How to Succeed Using Market Research

Learn how to effectively navigate the market research process to help guide your organization on the journey to success.

Download eBook

Share this report