Tunisia’s telecoms renaissance begins
Recent duopoly competition in the Tunisian GSM market will propel the industry to new highs and increase its size by nine folds by 2006, stated a recently released Arab Advisors report.
The Tunisian government has previously been reluctant to open the telecommunication sector to private and foreign investment. However, the introduction of the new telecommunication law Number 1-2001 of January 15, 2001 came as the first step to liberalize Tunisia’s telecom markets.
The law establishes an independent regulatory body to oversee the opening of the sector. The new law enabled the opening-up of the market to private companies by introducing a licensing regime for the supply of telecommunications services and networks.
“Tunisia’s second GSM operator, Orascom Telecom Tunisia is led by the Egypt-based Orascom Telecom and Kuwait’s NMTC. Orascom Tunisia launched its services in December 2002. This is considered the first major liberalization step of the Tunisian market. Earlier the public telephone service was opened up to the private sector.” Arab Advisors Group’s analyst, Shahin Shahin wrote in the report.
“The absence of competition in the domestic market has hitherto limited the growth of both fixed and GSM markets. Although Tunisia ‘s GDP per capita is much higher than neighboring Morocco and Algeria or Egypt and Jordan, penetration rates, especially in the GSM front, stand at a low level. The opening up of the market should unlock the potential inherent in the Tunisian telecom. The Arab Advisors Group projects the GSM market to increase by almost nine folds by 2006, reaching a penetration rate of 43 percent.” Shahin added.
“As for the PSTN market there are no announced immediate plans to open up the sector. The liberalization of PSTN market is expected to commence in 2003 and onwards. The market crossed the one million mark in 2001, and has reached an estimated total of 1.15 million in 2002,” said Shahin.
Revenues from voice telephony services (PSTN and GSM) totaled $ 576 million with revenues from PSTN constituting 75 percent. The Arab Advisors Group expects a major shift in the coming years in the split between Mobile and PSTN revenues. PSTN revenues are projected to constitute 32 percent of the total, with the balance generated from the GSM segment. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)