Benin secures funds to improve national fibre network

Benin secures funds to improve national fibre network

Benin’s telecom market continues to be restricted by the poor condition of the country’s fixed-line infrastructure. This has in turn hampered the development of fixed-line voice and internet services, and as a result there is negligible revenue derived from these sectors.

Mobile networks account for almost all internet connections, and also carry most voice traffic. As such, it is this sector which is attracting most investment.

There is promise for considerable change in the mobile sector, which has been a duopoly between Moov and MTN since the closure of services from Glo Mobile and Libercom in 2018.

However, progress is being made in developing competition in the mobile sector. The national infrastructure provider SBIN has been licensed to provide mobile services, and in mid-2021 Sonatel Group was awarded a five-year contract to oversee progress. In May 2021 the government sought foreign companies unaffiliated with MTN Group or Maroc Telecom to bid for a fourth mobile licence.

Improved international internet connectivity has contributed to a reduction in end-user pricing, and provided the potential to transform many areas of the country’s economy, bringing a greater proportion of the population into the orbit of internet commerce and connectivity. A 2,000km fibre project started in 2016 was finally completed in mid-2021, prompting the government to secure a loan to build additional fibre infrastructure connecting four of the country’s 12 departments.

BuddeComm notes that the pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure.

Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:

  • Sonatel granted five-year contract to manage the infrastructure provider SBIN and develop mobile services;
  • Government initiates process to licence a new MNO, secures $40 million loan to begin a fibre network project covering four departments;
  • Government launches a national interoperability platform for its smart government (Smart Gouv) program;
  • MTN Benin extends managed services partnership with Ericsson;
  • Orange commissions new connection from the ACE submarine cable, connecting Benin with Tenerife;
  • Report update includes the regulator's market data to June 2021, telcos' operating data to Q3 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

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Developing Telecoms market report summaries are produced in partnership with BuddeCom, the world’s largest continually updated online telecommunications research service.

The above article is a summary of the following BuddeCom report:

Report title: Benin - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

Edition: November 2021

Analysts: Henry Lancaster, Peter Lange

Number of pages: 148

Companies mentioned in the report: MTN, Moov (Telecel), Libercom, BBCom (Bell Benin), Glo Mobile (Globacom), be.Telecoms (Bénin Télécoms, formerly OPT), Kanakoo (BeninNet), Isocel, EIT, FirstNet, Arts Bobo, Sobiex Informatique, Global Trading Agency, Afripa Telecom, Thuraya, Nitel, Suburban Telecom, CEB

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