This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Tunisia's telecommunications market.
Subjects covered include:
One of Africa's most advanced telecoms and broadband markets; Key statistics; Market and industry overviews; The impact of the global economic crisis and the Arab Spring revolution; Government policies affecting the telecoms industry; Market liberalisation and regulatory issues; Telecoms operators privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences; Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband); Infrastructure development; Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G; Average Revenue per User; Internet and broadband development, including 3G mobile; E-government and e-commerce; Internet censorship; Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).
Tunisia has developed a diverse, market-oriented economy which escaped the global economic crisis virtually unscathed, but the events of the Arab Spring drove the country into a mild recession in 2011. However, GDP growth is expected to climb steadily over the coming years to reach 6% in 2015.
As a result of heavy investments in the telecom sector since the mid-1990s, Tunisia has one of the most developed telecommunications infrastructures in Northern Africa and sports some of the continent's highest market penetration rates.
Offering a full range of services, Tunisie Telecom is the country's fixed-line incumbent. The company was partly privatised in 2006 when a 35% stake was sold to Dubai-based Tecom and DIG. It also operates a mobile network under the name Tunicell.
The mobile sector has experienced exceptional growth since the introduction of a second GSM network in 2002, operated under the name Tunisiana first by Egypt's Orascom and now by Kuwait's Wataniya in which Qatar Telecom (Q-Tel) holds a majority stake.
Competition between eleven ISPs, supported by a nationwide fibre optic backbone network and international access via submarine and terrestrial fibre, has led to one of the most developed Internet markets in the region and some of the lowest broadband prices in Africa. The former government encouraged and promoted Internet use but at the same time kept tight control by restricting access to certain websites. Laws supporting e-commerce and digital signatures have been passed, which has led to one of the most active e-government and e-commerce sectors in Africa.
France Telecom-owned Orange entered the market as the second fixed-line and third mobile operator in 2010 and launched Tunisia's first commercial 3G mobile service. Tunicell followed in August 2011, Tunisiana in July 2012. HSPA+ services with up to 42Mb/s using dual carrier technology are now available. This is expected to deliver a further boost to the Internet and broadband market by taking broadband Internet access to a much wider part of the population, considering that the country's mobile networks reach close to 100% of the population while Tunisie Telecom's fixed-line network reaches only about one-third of households.
Third 3G mobile broadband service launched; HSPA+ service with up to 42Mb/s is available; 3G mobile broadband pricing competes with ADSL; Tunisia again ranked first in Africa for Network Readiness by Davos Economic Forum.
Market penetration rates in Tunisia's telecoms sector March 2012 Market | Penetration rate Mobile | 117% Fixed | 11% Internet | 41 % (Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)