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Update on the telecommunications situation in Africa seen from the point of view of operators rather than countries - Part 4
Published Date: 6/28/2016

Orange's top 5 countries in Africa (continued)


With a population of 34,817,065 and GDP of $103.1 billion, there are three mobile operators in Morocco - Maroc Telecom, the incumbent operator which as of early 2016 served 41.53% of active lines, Meditel which served 30.74%, and Inwi subsidiary of SNI, a holding of the royal family with a 27.73% share.

On July 26th Orange increased its share in Moroccan telco Meditel by 9% to 49% in line with an agreement signed in December 2010 with Fipar-Holding (the Moroccan Caisse de Dépôt et de Gestion group) and FinanceCom, each of which now hold 25.5% of the company. Since then the Méditel BoD has been composed of five members proposed by Orange and four appointed by Moroccan shareholders and Meditel results have been consolidated into Orange corporate accounts. At that time Meditel's networks, included over 5,400 km of fibre, including 870 km in Morocco’s ten largest urban areas, and as of the end of 2015 Meditel said it had extended its 3G coverage to 95% of the population. In March 2015, the Moroccan regulator ANRT assigned one of the three 4G licenses to the operator which launched its 4G service, in June 2015. As of the end of 2014, Méditel had revenue of MAD 5.5 billion (Euro 503 million) and served around 13 million mobile subscribers which gave it a market share of about 31%.

In 2015 Agence Ecofin reported that Meditel had launched ADSL services, despite fixed incumbent Maroc Telecom's (IAM's) refusal to unbundle its local loop. In March 2016 Meditel announced plans to invest MAD 7 billion in its network over the next five years, and on March 31st Meditel reported its 2015 results including consolidated net profit up 309% to MAD 335 million (Euro 30 million), despite a slight decline in consolidated turnover of 1.7% to MAD 5.3 billion. Investment by Meditel in 2015 amounted to almost MAD 2 billion for the year, including MAD 500 million for the 4G license won in March 2015. Debt was still quite high but fell by 5% in 2015 to MAD 4.7 billion. On March 3rd Meditel announced plans to invest MAD 7 billion in its network over the next five years.


With a population of 11,375,220 and GDP of $44.720 billion, according to INT L'Instance Nationale des Télécommunications) the local Tunisian telecom regulator at the end of December 2015 Orange Tunisia served over four million customers (compared with 3.4 million in December 2014) up 23%, compared with 40.7% for Ooredoo and 36.1% for Tunisie Telecom. Also according to INT, at the end of December 2015 Orange was still the market leader for mobile Internet, with a 45.3% market share, compared with 22.9% for Tunisie Telecom and 31.8% for Ooredoo.

As far as its network was concerned, Orange at the end of 2015 said it had deployed over 130 radio sites to reach a total of 1,490 sites at the end of year via which it covered more than 98% of the population with 2G services and 90% with 3G services. It also had a total of 330 fibre-enabled sites and new metropolitan loops in several major cities across Tunisia: Grand Tunis, Sousse and Monastir. Orange said the fibre deployment program would continue moving forward in 2016, with projects launched at the end of 2015 in other regions: Bizerte, Kasserine and Jendouba.

The 173 km transMediterranean Didon submarine cable which links Kélibia (Tunisia) to Mazara del Vallo, Sicily, Italy had been brought online, making it possible to benefit from an additional 10 Gbit/s of bandwidth, securing international links and thus improving the quality of services provided for Orange Tunisia customers. Several major upgrades had also been rolled out on the network core architectures and service platforms and these would continue in 2016 with 4G’s expected deployment. On March 31st Orange Tunisia announced that it had launched its 4G network in Tunisia with a wider coverage than either of its competitors.

Democratic Republic of Congo

With a population of 79,722,624 and GDP of $39.060 billion, as of early 2015 according to the GSMA the mobile penetration rate in the Congo was only 58%. However, in early 2016 Orange was claiming that the figure was around 40 million (just over 50%). At the end of 2015 there were five main operators which in order of importance were Vodafone, Bharti Airtel , Africell, Tigo and Orange.

In October 2011, Orange acquired 100% of the mobile operator Congo Chine Télécoms, previously part owned by ZTE. CCT held a national 2G and 3G license, and was renamed Orange RDC and the Orange brand was introduced in December 2012.
Orange RDC claimed to serve 4.3 million mobile customers at the end of 2014, compared with 1.8 million at the end of 2013, i.e. an increase of 140% (which seems rather high).

On April 21, 2016 Orange announced it had completed the acquisition of 100% of Millicom International Cellular's (MIC) Tigo subsidiary in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for $160 million. According to TeleGeography, as of end of 2015, Tigo DRC was the country’s fourth largest operator by subscribers with a 12.9% share of the market, while Orange DRC had a 12.8% market share. Tigo's market share has been growing recently. The merger would create an operator with a market share in the range 26-28% and around 11-12 million customers, which would rank in third place behind Vodafone and Airtel.

Côte d'Ivoire

With a population of 23,254,184 and GDP of $31.270 billion, the Côte d’Ivoire mobile market has been a very competitive one for some time with far too many operators. Its leading suppliers are MTN. Orange and Maroc Telecom with a number of other competitors such as Comium, LAP Green, VIPNet, YouMee in various stages of consolidation or elimination. In Côte d’Ivoire, Orange provides a 2G network to 98% of the population and achieves 83% coverage across the country. The GSM network covers more than 6,000 communities. Orange CI has also rolled out 3G+ technology throughout the entire country to 93 communities with 44% of the population. After a trial period in 2014 and 2015, 2016 will see Orange CI launch 4G.

Orange Côte d’Ivoire Telecom is also involved in a huge program to roll out fibre so as to ensure the country enjoys international connectivity via the SAT-3 and ACE undersea cables as well as it having two direct connections with Mali and Burkina Faso.

Founded in 1996, Orange Côte d’Ivoire claimed to have almost 11 million customers as of December 31st, 2015 and to employ 1,483 workers. In January 2016 Orange CI announced that, following a trial period in 2014, the arrival of 4G and the commercial services was imminent. As of the end of 2015 Orange claimed to serve more than 4.4 million subscribers with more than CFA 8 billion worth of transactions per day. As of December 31, 2015, Orange CI had more than 130 sales outlets spread across the country.

Orange Côte d'Ivoire on May 3rd the Jeune Afrique newssource reported that on April 28th the government of Cote d’Ivoire and the management team of Orange Group had signed a MoU whereby fixed line operator CI-Telecom (48.5%-owned by the government and 51.0%-owned by Orange Group) and mobile unit Orange Cote d’Ivoire (85%-owned by Orange Group, with the remainder held by SIFCOM) would be merged into an entity owned 31% by the government and 69% by Orange. Detailed discussions with the state about the merger are expected to be concluded by the end of the year, with the merger expected to be formalised by June 2017.