Exceptional growth in Mali

Research & Markets reports that Mali is seeing exceptional mobile growth ahead of an expected third mobile operator.

In a new report, the analysts say Mali has market penetration rates below African averages in all market sectors except mobile where it is now racing towards the 100% mark.

France Telecom was extremely successful when it entered the market as the second mobile and fixed-line operator in 2003 and quickly amassed more than 80% market share under the Orange brand, offering converged fixed, mobile and broadband Internet services.

The national telco, Sotelma with its mobile subsidiary Malitel was privatised in 2009 when a 51% stake was sold to Maroc Telecom, itself majority owned by Vivendi of France. The fresh capital and management has enabled the incumbent to compete much more aggressively and regain market share.

In addition, the government is planning to license a third mobile operator, says the report. Third generation mobile services have been introduced, but mobile broadband services are still under development.

The introduction of ADSL, WiMAX and mobile data services has started to accelerate growth in the Internet and broadband market, but Mali’s landlocked location makes it dependent on neighbouring countries for international fibre bandwidth, which has kept prices high. Improvements in this sector can be expected from the recent arrival of new competitive international submarine fibre systems in the region.

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