Internet censorship abolished, legislative reform and latest broadband technologies launched
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 and FttP; E-government, e-learning and e-commerce; Internet censorship; Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile).
As a result of heavy investments in the telecom sector since the mid-1990s, Tunisia has one of the most developed telecommunications and broadband infrastructures in Northern Africa, sporting some of the continent's highest market penetration rates and lowest prices. The events of the Arab Spring revolution in 2011 drove the country into a mild recession, but GDP growth returned to pre-crisis levels the following year and is expected to remain stable at around 4.5% from 2015 onwards.
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 UAE-based EIT. The foreign investor is looking to exit the market but the sale has been delayed by a political crisis in 2013. TT 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 initially by Egypt's Orascom under the name Tunisiana and now by Qatar Telecom (Qtel) which is rebranding it to Ooredoo. France Telecom-owned Orange entered the market as the third operator in 2010 and launched Tunisia's first commercial 3G mobile service, followed by Tunicell in 2011 and Tunisiana in 2012. HSPA+ services with up to 42Mb/s using dual carrier technology are now available.
Tunisiana and Orange are also licensed as fixed-line operators and have launched DSL and Fibre to the Premises (FttP) broadband internet services. In addition, eleven ISPs are competing in this sector, supported by a nationwide fibre optic backbone network and international access via submarine and terrestrial fibre. The former government encouraged and promoted internet use but at the same time kept tight control by restricting access to certain websites. A reform of the country's Telecommunications Act was initiated in 2013 and government internet censorship was officially abolished. In addition, 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.
Market highlights:Fibre to the Premises (FttP) and VDSL2 vectoring with up to 100Mb/s launched; Minority stake in Tunisie Telecom up for sale; Reform of Telecommunications Act initiated; Government internet censorship officially abolished; 3G mobile broadband has become the preferred mode of internet access.
Market penetration rates in Tunisia's telecoms sector September 2013 Market | Penetration rate Mobile | 118% Fixed | 10% Internet | 44% (Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)