Table of Contents
Growing Mobile Penetration and Data Services Drive the Market
Despite their large populations, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have some of the least developed telecom markets in Africa in terms of connectivity because of their limited transport, telecoms infrastructure, and socio-economic conditions. Due to rising operator investments in infrastructure and growing government support to boost their economies both markets are showing high growth. This research provides a strategic analysis of the mobile communications market of both Ethiopia and the DRC. It focuses on current market trends, key drivers and restraints, and provides an overview of the competitive landscapes of the respective countries. The study also identifies growth opportunities based on market forecasts and emerging trends.
-The mobile communications markets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Ethiopia are still very under-developed but show much potential for growth over the next to years.
-Despite boasting some of the highest population numbers in Sub-Saharan Africa, both the DRC and Ethiopia have low mobile penetration rates, at % and %, respectively.
-The countries have been plagued by high poverty levels and low gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, as well as limited infrastructure which has resulted in a gradual development of the telecommunications markets in terms of network coverage and the uptake of services.
-However, following government intervention to boost connectivity and increasing investments in infrastructure by operators, the combined mobile communications market of the countries is expected to grow at compounded annual growth (CAGR) of % from 2013 to 2018.
-Mobile service revenues and subscribers in the DRC are expected to grow at CAGRs of % and %, respectively, over the years, and Ethiopia at % and % over the same period. This will be driven by increasing connectivity in the respective countries.
-In the DRC, the market will be primarily driven by the growing number of mobile subscribers and the rising demand for data services, including mobile messaging, value-added services, and broadband.
-One of the key drivers in the demand for data will be the adoption of mobile money solutions. Operators such as Airtel, Vodacom, and Tigo are all deploying mobile services to differentiate their services from their competitors.
-In Ethiopia, the telecoms market has been limited by a lack of competition, with the state-owned Ethio Telecoms (formerly Ethiopian Telecommunications Company) being the only provider in the market due to protection from the regulator.
-However, the market is set for growth as a result of Ethiopia’s strong economic growth prospects, increased smartphone penetration, and heavy investment in infrastructure.
-Foreign telecom providers are currently only able to enter the Ethiopian market as providers of value-added services, as the regulator has looked to protect Ethio Telecom’s monopolistic position in the market.
-Mobile data uptake is poised to increase because of the local production of smartphones. This shall enable better customer service and increase the potential for the creation of customised mobile applications for Ethiopians.
-At the start of 2013, the Ethiopian government gave permission to banks and micro-finance institutions to provide transaction-based banking online. As a result, Ethiopia is poised to become the next big mobile money market in Africa.
-Mobile operators should consider infrastructure sharing agreements in order to realise their objectives of expanding into some of the more remote and rural areas in the DRC as it will allow them to cost-effectively expand their coverage.
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