The release of Q208 results by many of West Africa’s major mobile operators (specifically France’s Orange, Kuwait’s Zain, Luxembourg’s Millicom International’s Tigo and Morocco’s Maroc Telecom) has allowed us to assess the likelihood that our 2008 forecast targets will be met. We believe our current predictions are generally on course to being achieved, although we have lowered our FY08 expectations for Cameroon and Mali due to evidence of slower growth in these markets.
Ghana remains one of West Africa’s most dynamic markets, with four operators already present in the market, and with another two operators poised to launch commercial services before the end of 2008.
In August 2008, the Ghanaian parliament approved the sale of a 70% stake in incumbent telco Ghana Telecom to the UK’s Vodafone Group. It is understood that Vodafone will pay US$900mn to acquire its Ghana Telecom stake and the UK operator was expected to assume managerial responsibility for the company before the end of August.
BMI predicts that Ghana Telecom’s mobile subsidiary One Touch will experience a new round of growth under Vodafone. In addition to Vodafone, Ghana’s mobile sector will be joined by two additional heavyweights before the end of 2008; the launch of services by Kuwait’s Zain and Nigeria’s Globacom is expected to raise the stakes even further in Ghana’s market, generating increased competition and investment.
Meanwhile in Cameroon, where BMI has downgraded its mobile growth predictions for 2008, it was announced in July that Yemba had become Cameroon’s first MVNO after signing a deal with incumbent operator Camtel. Yemba plans to use Camtel’s CDMA network to deliver its services, and aims to acquire 2mn mobile subscribers by 2010.
Other notable developments in our current update include the May 2008 acquisition by UAE incumbent Etisalat of an additional 12% stake in Atlantique Telecom, the company which operates mobile networks under the Moov brand in Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Niger, Togo, Central African Republic and Côte d’Ivoire. As a result of the acquisition, Etisalat raised its total interest in Atlantique to 82%.
Also, in June 2008, the government of Mali announced plans to award a third mobile phone licence and accelerate plans to privatise Malian incumbent operator Sotelma. The privatisation process is due to begin in October 2008, and will see a 51% stake sold to a strategic investor.
This report features our updated business environment rankings for the African telecoms market. Our latest set of rankings for Africa sees Botswana displace both South Africa and Nigeria to take the leading position. Another major development involves the ascendency of Egypt, which has risen to second place in our table from its previous sixth place ranking.
Credit: Mike King
Source: PR Inside