Gabon government commits XAF150 billion for infrastructure through to 2020. Gabon remains one of the wealthiest nations in Africa in terms of GDP per capita, with the economy largely buttressed by oil revenue.
The telecom market was liberalised in 1999 when the government awarded three mobile telephony licences and two Internet Service Provider (ISP) licences and established an independent regulatory authority. Gabon Telecom was privatised in 2007 when Maroc Telecom bought a 51% stake in the operator. In June 2016 Maroc Telecom merged Gabon Telecom with Moov Gabon, thereby reducing the number of mobile network operators from four to three.
The 2009 entry of USAN (operated by Bintel Group under the brand name Azur) into a competitive market with high penetration triggered a price war that saw falling revenue and profits, forcing the operators to streamline their businesses and to look for new income streams. Following more than a year of delays, a licence to offer 3G mobile broadband services was awarded in late 2011. Azur failed to weather competition and ceased trading in late 2017, encumbered by debts and fined by the regulator for failing to observe its quality of service obligations.
Both Airtel Gabon and Gabon Telecom Mobile (Libertis) have launched LTE services in a bid to develop revenue from mobile broadband and data services.
In contrast with the mobile market, Gabon’s fixed-line and internet sectors have remained underdeveloped due to a lack of competition and high prices. The country has sufficient international bandwidth on the SAT-3/WASC/SAFE submarine cable but this facility is monopolised by Gabon Telecom. The arrival of the ACE submarine cable, combined with progressing work on the CAB cable, has increased backhaul capacity supporting mobile data traffic.
Gabon Telecom and Airtel Gabon renew mobile licences for ten years;
Government commits XAF150 billion in backbone infrastructure work through to 2020;
Universal service project gets underway, aiming to deliver telecom services to 2,700 villages;
Korea Telecom secures XAF6 billion contract to build two fibre segments as part of the Central African Backbone project;
New legal and regulatory framework comes into play;
Gabon Telecom reduces cost of connecting to its fibre network by up to 90%;
Maroc Telecom merges Gabon Telecom and Moov Gabon;
E-Gabon project launched to improve e-health services;
Axione contracted to extend and maintain national telecoms infrastructure;
MNOs register SIM cards to comply with new regulations;
Airtel Gabon opens submarine link between Libreville and Port-Gentil;
Report update includes the regulator’s market data to Q2 2018, operator data to Q3 2018, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Gabon Telecom (Maroc Telecom, Libertis); Bharti Airtel (Zain); Moov (Telecel Gabon); Bintel (USAN, Azur); Internet Gabon; Solsi; IBN Corporate.
Major Key Points in Table of Content:
1. Key statistics
2. Telecommunications market
3. Regulatory environment
4. Fixed network operator
5. Telecommunications infrastructure
6. Fixed-line broadband market
7. Digitel economy
8. Mobile market
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