Although Algeria has a declining fixed-line penetration, the country has one of the highest telecom services teledensities in Africa. Mobile penetration stands at about 115%. The country's relatively well developed infrastructure includes a national fibre backbone and one of Africa's first FttP deployments. The country's oil and gas reserves have made it one of the wealthiest nations in Africa.
Competition in the fixed-line sector received a setback in 2008 when the second operator, Lacom (a joint venture between Egypt's Orascom Telecom and Telecom Egypt) left the market after three years of operations, citing regulatory barriers that made it impossible to compete with Algerie Telecom. Only months later, the already delayed privatisation of Algerie Telecom was called off and the licensing of third generation mobile spectrum delayed further. Since then there have several fundamental changes to the market. 3G services are now widely available, while mobile network operators have also launched services based on LTE technology. The government has pressed for 3G to be extended nationally, so extending the reach of basic mobile internet services, and has also prepared amendments to telecom legislation which would oblige Algerie Telecom to open its fixed-line infrastructure to competitors through providing access to its unbundled local loops.
To provide fixed connections, Algerie Telecom has made extensive use of CDMA wireless technology which supports broadband and full mobility. In parallel with the access networks, the national and international fibre optic backbone is being upgraded to an IP-based next-generation network. The government in 2014 alone invested some 100 million in national fibre infrastructure, and despite the financial pressures caused by the falling price of oil, a key revenue earner, the government is committed to its national telecom infrastructure investment program.
New interconnection tariffs introduced to June 2016; SEA-ME-WE 4 cable suffers breakage, disrupting international traffic; government signs contract to build Orval cable system linking Oran with Valencia; Alcatel-Lucent completes network upgrade for Ooredoo; SNTF and Kapsch CarrierCom set up Rail-Telecom JV to maintain railway telecom networks; government proposes legislation enforcing LLU access; Company of Telecommunications Infrastructure Algeria set up to manage a national fibre network; about 16% of Algerie Telecom's fixed-lines are wireless; Algerie Telecom allocates DZD431 million to improve telecom services in Tamanrasset; regulator's market data update for 2014; telcos' financial and operating data to Q2 2015; recent market data developments.