International investors prepare to enter post-war Libyas telecom market
This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Libya’s telecommunications market.
Subjects covered include:
The market with the highest mobile penetration in Africa;
Market and industry overviews;
Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
Telecoms operators – privatisation, joint ventures, new licences;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Infrastructure development, including fibre/FttH;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Internet and broadband development and pricing;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
Broadband pricing trends, fixed and wireless;
Mobile data services, including 3G broadband.
Libyas civil war in 2011 has crippled the countrys economy and disrupted its telecommunications sector. It is estimated that more than US$1 billion worth of telecom infrastructure has been destroyed, including about 20% of the countrys cell sites. Reconstruction efforts are underway, and at an estimated 76% GDP growth, the countrys economic output is expected to return to pre-war levels in 2012.
Several international telecom carriers are preparing to enter the Libyan market following the elections in July 2012. In addition, an initial public offering (IPO) of the countrys two mobile network operators is planned for 2013, and new operator licences may also be issued.
Despite having an old style state-owned monopoly player for the provision of postal and telecommunications services (LPTIC, GPTC), which also operates the country’s only Internet service (LTT) and two mobile networks in parallel, Libya’s telecommunications infrastructure is superior to those in most other African countries and services are available at some of the lowest prices on the continent.
Libya’s fixed-line teledensity is one of the highest in Africa, supported by extensive rollouts of CDMA-2000 wireless local loop technology (WLL) technology since 2006.
The mobile sub-sector remained underdeveloped with Al-Madar as the sole operator until the introduction of Libyana as the second GSM network in 2004 which sent market penetration skyrocketing from one of the lowest in Africa to one of the highest within only two years. In 2008 Libya became the first country in continental Africa to break the 100% mobile penetration barrier. Both networks are government owned but distinguish themselves with different service offerings and pricing.
The mobile networks are also participating in the Internet and broadband sector with mobile data services and third generation (3G/HSDPA) mobile broadband services.
Massive investments have been made by the former government into a next generation national fibre optic backbone network, the expansion of ADSL and WiMAX broadband services, new international fibre connections and upgrades to existing ones, and one of Africa’s first Fibre-to-the-Home (FttH) deployments. The first terabit international fibre optic cable landed in the country in 2010. Investments into telecommunications infrastructure totalling US$10 billion were earmarked for the 15 years to 2020.
Fast economic recovery following the end of the civil war;
International investors prepare to enter the telecoms market;
New operator licences may be issued.
Estimated market penetration rates in Libya’s telecoms sector – end 2012
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile (SIM cards) | 265%
Fixed | 20%
Internet | 17%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)
Companies covered in this report:
Libya Post and Telecommunication Information Technology (LPTIC)
General Posts and Telecommunications Company (GPTC)
Libya Telecom & Technology (LTT)