Report: Liberalization of Algeria's datacomm market invigorates rates and services
The ongoing liberalization of the Algerian Datacomm and Internet market is set to invigorate the sector with lower prices and more services. The expected growth in the Internet users base to four percent of the population by 2008 presents serious opportunities to Internet-based value added services such as online banking and credit card processing, according to an Arab Advisors Group report.
The Algerian Internet market was liberalized in 1998, and competition from private Internet Service Providers started in 1999. Setting up an Internet Service Provider (ISP) previously required getting a license. Nevertheless, since October 2000, ISPs were required to get an authorization rather than a license, and are currently governed by the rules determined in the schedule of conditions of ISPs. There are currently 91 operators authorized to provide Internet services. However, only 30 ISPs are currently operational.
“Algérie Télécom has a de-facto monopoly over Datacomm services since there are no current plans by the regulator (ARPT) to introduce competition in the data communication market,” said Arab Advisors Group’s senior research analyst, Serene Zawaydeh. “This will give Algérie Télécom extended monopoly in providing national and international leased lines and X.25 services. It is noteworthy that Frame Relay services are not commercially available yet.” Zawaydeh added.
The group projects Internet subscribers to reach around 265,000 in 2008, a penetration rate of 0.8 percent. Internet users are expected to grow from around 420,000 by end of 2003, a penetration rate of 1.31 percent to reach around 1.4 million in 2008, a penetration rate of four percent.
“French is the main language used in Algerian websites. Most websites lack rich content and lack sophistication. Only few banks have online presence and there still are no Internet banking services in Algeria. With the expected growth in Internet users, this presents an opportunity to banks to start offering Internet banking services.” Zawaydeh noted. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)