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Mali - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband


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

Market set for recovery following intervention on islamist insurgency

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Mali’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 environment;
Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
Infrastructure development;
Mobile voice and data markets;
Average Revenue per User;
Internet and broadband development and growth;
Broadband and mobile data services and pricing trends;
Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).

Home to one of the world’s most isolated cities, the fabled Timbuctu, and with a generally challenging geography for the provision of telecommunication services, Mali has market penetration rates below African averages in all market sectors except mobile where it is now racing towards the 100% mark. The division of the country during 2012 with islamists linked to Al-Qaeda controlling the north cast some uncertainty over future developments, but the recent intervention by French and African troops has resolved the situation at least in the short term. The economy contracted in 2012, but GDP growth is expected to recover and remain stable at between 5% and 6% from 2014 onwards.

France Telecom was extremely successful when it entered the market as the second mobile and fixed-line operator in 2003 and quickly amassed more than 80% market share under the Orange brand, offering converged fixed, mobile and broadband Internet services.

The national telco, Sotelma with its mobile subsidiary Malitel was privatised in 2009 when a 51% stake was sold to Maroc Telecom, itself majority owned by Vivendi of France. The fresh capital and management has enabled the incumbent to compete much more aggressively and regain market share.

A third mobile operator was licensed in 2012, but the local partner defaulted on its share of the licence fee, putting the joint venture in limbo. Despite the high mobile penetration in the country, enormous potential exists in the development of mobile broadband services. The introduction of basic mobile data services as well as ADSL and WiMAX has started to accelerate growth in the Internet and broadband market, but Mali’s landlocked location makes it dependent on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth, which has kept prices high. Improvements in this sector can be expected from the recent arrival of several new competitive international submarine fibre optic cables in the region.

Market highlights:

Third mobile licence in limbo;
New WiMAX network launces;
Mobile penetration expected to hit 100%;
New international fibre connections will improve broadband connectivity.

Estimated market penetration rates in Mali’s telecoms sector – end-2013
Market | Penetration rate
Mobile | 101%
Fixed | 0.6%
Internet | 2.4%
(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:

Société des Télécommunications du Mali (Sotelma, Maroc Telecom, Vivendi); Orange Mali (Ikatel, France Telecom); Monaco Telecom; Planor Afrique; Afribone; CEFIB; Datatech.


1. Executive summary
2. Key statistics
2.1 Country overview
3. Telecommunications market
3.1 Overview of Mali’s telecom market
4. Regulatory environment
4.1 Background
4.2 Regulatory authority
4.2.1 CRT
4.3 Liberalisation of Mali’s telecom sector
4.4 West African common regulatory framework
4.5 Interconnection
5. Fixed network operators in Mali
5.1 Sotelma
5.1.1 Services
5.1.2 Network infrastructure
5.1.3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL), CDMA-2000 1x EV-DO
5.1.4 Privatisation
5.1.5 Financial results 2004-2012
5.2 Orange Mali
5.3 Fixed-line statistics
6. International infrastructure
6.1 Terrestrial/submarine fibre
6.2 New international submarine fibre optic cables
6.3 Satellite
7. Internet market
7.1 Overview
7.1.1 Internet statistics
7.2 Internet cafes
7.3 Multipurpose Community Telecentres (MCTs)
7.4 The Cybertigi project
7.5 SchoolNet
7.6 One Laptop per Child (OLPC)
7.7 ISP market
7.7.1 Sotelma
7.7.2 Orange Mali
7.7.3 Afribone
7.7.4 CEFIB
7.7.5 Datatech
8. Broadband market
8.1 ADSL
8.2 WiMAX
9. Digital economy
9.1 VoIP telephony
9.2 E-health
9.3 Tele-education
9.4 Facebook
10. Mobile communications
10.1 Overview of Mali’s mobile market
10.1.1 Mobile statistics
10.2 Third mobile licence
10.3 Major mobile operators
10.3.1 Malitel
10.3.2 Orange Mali (formerly Ikatel)
10.4 Mobile data services
10.5 Mobile content and applications
10.5.1 M-payments and m-banking
11. Related reports
Table 1 – Country statistics Mali – 2013
Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2013
Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2013
Table 4 – Mobile statistics – 2013
Table 5 – National telecommunications authority
Table 6 – Sotelma fixed-line statistics – 2008 - 2012
Table 7 – Sotelma financial results – 2007 - 2008
Table 8 – Sotelma financial results – 2009 – 2011 (after privatisation)
Table 9 – Sotelma revenue – 2011 - 2012
Table 10 – Fixed-lines in service and teledensity in Mali – 1999 - 2013
Table 11 – Internet users and penetration rate in Mali – 1999 - 2013
Table 12 – Internet subscribers, Sotelma vs Orange Mali – 2008 - 2012
Table 13 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Mali – 2000 - 2013
Table 14 – Mobile operators in Mali, subscribers and annual change – June 2012
Table 15 – Malitel mobile subscribers and ARPU – 2008 - 2012
Table 16 – Orange Mali mobile data pricing – 2012
Table 17 – Malitel GPRS pricing – 2012
Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Mali – 2002 - 2013
Exhibit 1 – Map of Mali
Exhibit 2 – West African common regulatory framework
Exhibit 3 – New international submarine fibre optic cables in West Africa – 2009 - 2011
Exhibit 4 – Orange Mali wireless broadband pricing – 2008 - 2012

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