Market Trend

Investment to increase in Africa and Middle East

Telecoms markets in Africa and the Middle East (AME) continue to attract mobile operators from saturated markets, according to a report by Pyramid Research.

In both regions collectively there is a mobile penetration rate of 60% with approximately half a billion unsigned subscribers. It appears operators are finding new sources of revenue in these markets by increasing investment. The report points to Bharti Airtel’s acquisition of Zain’s 15 regional assets for $10.7 billion and also identifies France Telecom Orange’s interest in Moroccan operator Meditel as part of a $9 billion investment plan involving up to five countries as examples. By the time Capacity went to press, France Telecom Orange had acquired a 40% stake in Meditel for €640 million.

Operators will face challenges of cost management and premature saturation as they expand into rural regions, particularly as they try to reach potential African subscribers in low penetrations regions like sub-Saharan Africa.

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