Benin - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Market Insights and Statistics
MTN Mobile Money providing cross-border remittance service between Ivory Coast and Benin
This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Benin's telecommunications market.
Subjects covered include:
Key statistics; Market and industry overviews; The impact of the global economic crisis; Government policies affecting the telecoms industry; Market liberalisation and regulatory issues; Telecoms operators privatisation, acquisitions, new licences; Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband); Infrastructure development; Mobile voice and data markets; Average Revenue per User; Internet and broadband development; Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).
Although the telecom market in Benin continues to face considerable hurdles given the country's poor fixed-line infrastructure, recent developments suggest that the sector will be transformed in coming years. Much of this transformation is due to improved international internet connectivity and the rapidly escalating bandwidth available. This is encouraging the deployment of widely available and cheaper services than hitherto. Encouraged by these developments, operators have continued to invest in mobile services which in turn are supporting a range of mobile data applications including m-commerce. Improved telecoms infrastructure has the potential to transform many areas of the country's economy, bringing a greater proportion of the population into the orbit of internet commerce and connectivity.
The third submarine cable system, which came online in 2012, has substantially reduced the cost of international bandwidth. The fixed-line monopoly operator Benin Telecoms has also expanded its fixed-wireless and DSL-based broadband services in recent years, extending its national fibre backbone and international fibre connections. Long-established plans to privatise the company have thus far come to nought, though the government is developing its strategy to sell of the company's assets, including the mobile services unit Libercom which will be spun off as a new entity with separate assets.
The mobile telephony sector enjoys effective competition between Libercom, South Africa's MTN, Etisalat's Moov, Globacom's Glo Mobile, and Bell Benin. Competition among these players pushed market penetration above 100% by mid-2014.
Although fixed-line internet services have been available in Benin since 1995, access is limited a small proportion of the population. Fixed-line internet represents less that 10% of all accesses, with most connections being made via the mobile networks.
The country's first licence for 3G and 4G mobile broadband services was awarded in early 2012. In May 2013 the government launched a tender for Universal Service Licenses'. In the following month licenses were awarded to MTN and Etisalat's Moov. The licences are technology neutral, enabling the operators to offer services based on 3G, LTE and mobile WiMAX technologies.
The vast majority of mobile subscribers are prepaid, with contract subscribers representing only about 0.4% of the total subscriber base. Estimated market penetration by service end-2014 Market | Penetration rate Mobile | 102% Fixed | 1.7% Internet | 11.8% (Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Orange enters talks to acquire Libercom; Etisalat Moov launches 3G services, introduces its Flous' m-commerce service; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donate funds to a mobile vaccine registry program; mobile internet connections soar; regulator is renamed as the Autorité de Regulation des Communications et de la Poste (ARCEP); report includes telcos' operating data to Q3 2014; regulator's market data to June 2014; recent market developments.