Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/12/2014 -- There is a strong level of competition in most North African markets, with the exception of Libya. The country is the exception to most of the trends in the region, a legacy of the country's civil war. Nevertheless, there is potential for renewed growth in Libya as a possible third operator is licensed and new infrastructure is deployed. This is also reflected in the improvements expected in its neighbouring markets. Incumbent Maroc Telecom has been acquired by Etisalat and a stake in Tunisie Telecom is also for sale, while Algeria issued 3G licences at the end of 2013. All four markets offer potential for growth despite maturity and their difficult business environments.
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- Algeria's mobile market grew faster than expected, leading to an upgrade in our forecasts for 2014 and beyond. We expect subscriptions to reach 43.6mn by 2017. 3G growth will not take off until 2014, as licences were only offered at the end of 2013.
- Ooredoo rebranded in Algeria but has retained the Tunisiana name in Tunisia. In both countries the operator is a key driver of growth, reporting strong net additions throughout 2013 and boosting our expectations of market growth in both markets.
- Investments in fixed infrastructure are concentrated on high-speed broadband networks that will drive the market. Libya's minister of Communication and Informatics announced a five-year fibre investment, while Maroc Télécom announced ambitious plans to invest in its own fixed broadband network, but this may be undone by a likely upcoming change in ownership at the company.
Key Trends & Developments
Although the market remains beset by ownership issues, BMI believes the awarding of 3G licences to mobile operators in Algeria is a positive sign for the market. We had concerns over some operators being left out or restricted in bidding but the country's three main players all received licences to cover major cities. BMI's main reservation is that other areas of the country are split between operators, ruling out competition in these markets. We believe this will stifle growth in the longer term and limit the potential of Algeria's 3G market.
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