Recently published research from Business Monitor International, "North Africa Telecommunications Report Q3 2013", is now available at Fast Market Research
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/21/2013 -- The North African telecoms markets continue to demonstrate variable growth on several levels. Symptomatic of this trend is a lack of creativity and diversity in the type and scope of services on offer, even in mature markets such as Morocco and Tunisia, where mobile broadband is taking off. Essential life tools, such as mobile money, are gaining traction and bringing a degree of stability to revenue generation.
Nevertheless, price competition for key services and cooling demand for legacy products mean that the potential for profit is contracting. This may be why Algeria is finding it difficult to agree on the valuation of nationalisation target Djezzy, why a minority shareholder is withdrawing from Tunisie Telecom and why the sale of Maroc Telecom appears to have stalled. On top of this, the political and business environments remain challenging and prone to sudden collapse.
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- Mobile growth continues to be driven by prepaid services, which does little to add value to mobile ARPUs and income relating to non-voice services. However, in Morocco and Tunisia, there are signs that operators are seeing better growth in the more lucrative postpaid market. More needs to be done to develop locally relevant content if services are to appeal to more consumers.
- Fixed-line and broadband growth remains variable as demand for traditional fixed telephone lines fluctuates and affordability issues continue to hamper broadband adoption. Maroc Telecom has announced ambitious plans to invest in its fixed broadband network, but this may be undone by a likely upcoming change in ownership at the company.
Key Trends & Developments
There has, after all, been no positive progress on the closely linked issues of nationalisation of Algerian mobile operator, Djezzy, and the licensing of 3G services. The matters appeared to be deadlocked at the time of writing, with no clear way forward seen at the time of writing. This highlights our long-held view that state involvement in the telecoms sector is inimical to return on investment-focused strategies. The same can be said for the other three markets, albeit to lesser degrees.
In Libya, the new government is still undecided whether it should privatise the state telecoms operators, but the need to rebuild the country's shattered infrastructure may force the issue. A number of regional players, including Zain and Etisalat, stand ready, but much work still needs to be done in developing a comprehensive national ICT policy and regulatory apparatus before BMI will be convinced.
Meanwhile, UAE-based investors in Tunisie Telecom have opted to exit the state-owned operator, citing increasing difficulties in dealing with the government and with employee unions. Regulatory data show insipid growth at the incumbent, making it a relatively unattractive prospect. Nevertheless, Etisalat is one of many ready to invest in the company.
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