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Ethiopia - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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

The fastest growing market in Africa with enormous potential

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Ethiopia’s telecommunications market.

Subjects covered include:

Key statistics;
Market and industry overviews;
Detailed profile of the monopoly telecom provider in the country;
Plans for privatisation and market liberalisation;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Regulatory environment;
Infrastructure development;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).
Internet and broadband development and pricing trends;
Mobile data services;
3G mobile broadband services and pricing;
Average Revenue per User (ARPU);
Local mobile phone manufacturing, including smartphones.

Ethiopia is one of the last countries in Africa allowing its national telco, Ethio-Telecom (ETC) a monopoly on all telecom services including fixed, mobile, Internet and data communications. This monopolistic control has stifled innovation and retarded expansion. A management contract with France Telecom has led to dramatically improved performance and is seen as a first step towards privatisation and the introduction of competition, but the two companies are blaming each other for weaknesses in quality of service. The contract ends in 2013.

With a population of almost 90 million, Ethiopia is Africas second most populous country. Its mobile market almost tripled in 2011, and yet market penetration is still less than half the African average, so enormous growth potential remains.

The countrys broadband market is also set for a boom following massive improvements in international bandwidth, national fibre backbone infrastructure and 3G mobile broadband services. After years of low uptake due to prohibitive pricing, retail prices are now comparable to other markets in the region that are already more developed.

Ethiopia is also the latest low-cost location for mobile phone manufacturing. Three companies have started manufacturing in the country with a combined capacity of almost five million units per year and will soon start exporting to other African markets. The first locally manufactured smartphone is expected to hit the market in the second half of 2012. Another 20 companies have been licensed for local mobile phone manufacturing. The government is encouraging foreign investment in a broad range of industries by allowing up to 100% foreign equity ownership.

Market highlights:

Ethio-Telecom transforms under management contract with France Telecom;
Strong revenue growth despite drastic price cuts;
The fastest growing mobile market in Africa;
Local handset manufacturing, including smartphones;
International internet bandwidth has increased more than six-fold in two years;
Significant improvements in broadband affordability;
Broadband pricing comparison: ADSL, EV-DO, GPRS, HSDPA;
Forecasts for mobile and internet market to 2014 and 2017.

Estimated market penetration rates in Ethiopia’s telecoms sector – end 2012
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 26%
Fixed | 0.9%
Internet | 1.7%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:

Ethio-Telecom (Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation, ETC); EthioNet (ETC); Ethio-Mobile (ETC); France Telecom, Tecno Telecom, Smadl, Tana Communication, Thuraya


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
3. Overview of Ethiopia’s telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Regulatory authority
4.1.1 Ethiopian Telecommunications Agency (ETA)
4.2 Telecom service licences
4.3 Telecom sector liberalisation
5. Fixed network operator
5.1 Ethio-Telecom (ETC)
5.1.1 Fixed-line statistics
5.1.2 Fixed-line infrastructure
5.1.3 Rural area network
5.1.4 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
5.1.5 Leased lines, data services
5.1.6 VSAT
5.1.7 National backbone network
5.1.8 Next Generation Network (NGN)
5.1.9 International infrastructure
5.1.10 US$4 billion network development plan 2007-2012
5.1.11 Privatisation
5.1.12 France Telecom management contract
5.1.13 Financial results 2010/11
6. Internet market
6.1 Overview
6.2 Internet statistics
6.3 National connectivity
6.4 Public Internet access locations
6.5 VoIP grey market
6.6 E-learning
6.7 ISP market
6.7.1 EthioNet
6.7.2 Wholesale
7. Broadband market
7.1 ADSL
7.2 EV-DO
7.3 WiMAX
7.4 Broadband via satellite
8. Mobile communications
8.1 Overview of Ethiopia’s mobile market
8.1.1 Mobile statistics
8.2 Mobile operator
8.2.1 Ethio-Mobile
8.3 Mobile data services
8.4 Third generation (3G)
8.5 Mobile banking
8.6 Satellite mobile
8.7 Local handset manufacturing
8.8 Smartphones
9. Forecasts
9.1 Forecast – mobile subscribers – 2014; 2017
9.2 Forecast – Internet users – 2014; 2017
9.3 Notes on scenario forecasts
10. Related reports
List of Tables and Charts
Table 1 – Country statistics Ethiopia – 2012
Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2012
Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2012
Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2012
Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2012
Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
Table 7 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 1995 - 2012
Table 8 – Internet users and penetration rate – 1996 - 2012
Table 9 – Internet subscribers – 1997 - 2011
Table 10 – Ethiopias international Internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2011
Table 11 – Ethio-Telecom capped ADSL pricing – August 2012
Table 12 – Ethio-Telecom unlimited ADSL pricing – August 2012
Table 13 – Ethio-Telecom EV-DO wireless broadband pricing – August 2012
Table 14 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1999 - 2012
Table 15 – Broadband pricing comparison – HSDPA, GPRS, EV-DO, ADSL – August 2012
Table 16 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2014; 2017
Table 17 – Forecast Internet users – 2014; 2017
Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002 - 2012

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