This South African country is committed to improving fast internet speed. Would infrastructure follow?
In January 2016, Ivory Coast withdrew mobile licenses from four companies operating in the country including Green Network of Libya, Warid Telecom of UAE, Café Mobil of Cote d’Ivoire, and Comium of Lebanon, as acknowledged by Lemassou Fofana, president of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority. According to Fofana, these companies all committed to capital expenditures to increase mobile broadband internet speeds from 3G to 4G, but this allegedly never happened. This one of a number of decisions that illustrates this frontier market’s (FRN) (FM) active commitment to supporting the constant improvement of internet quality for its population.
With an average speed of 7.64 Mbps, Ivory Coast already boasts the second fastest mobile network internet connection in Africa (EZA) (GAF). Increased investment in internet infrastructure in this region could also bode well for stocks of existing telecom operators who will be competing to enlarge their market shares. Let’s look at some of the key telecom players in the market.
Key telecom operators in Ivory Coast
Currently, the Ivory Coast wireless telecom market is dominated by these four licensed players
- Orange SA (ORAN) (Euronext: ORA): a unit of France Telecom
- MTN Cote d’Ivoire SA: a unit of MTN (MTNOY) (Johannesburg: MTN), Africa’s biggest wireless operator
- Moov: a unit of Emirates Telecommunications Group (UAE/Dubai: ETISALAT)
- Maroc Telecom: another Etisalat unit, acquired its telecom license for the region in January 2016
Orange versus MTN
Orange SA (ORAN) is the leader in the wireless segment in Ivory Coast with 12.7 million subscribers (as of 3Q16), as compared to MTN Cote d’Ivoire SA’s 8.54 million wireless subscribers. Orange SA also has about 280,000 in fixed-line subscribers in the country.
As of 1Q17, Orange SA generated an ARPU of 4.90 euro. The company generated $213 million in wireless revenues from the Ivory Coast in 1Q17.
MTN (MTNOY) operates in Ivory Coast through its local unit, MTN Cote d’Ivoire SA (761852Z IA Equity). The company generated about $490 million in revenues from Ivory Coast in 2016.