TELECOMS

Morocco records cellular, fixed line and wireless broadband growth

Moroccan telecoms regulator the ANRT has issued a report for the first quarter of 2009, showing that the country’s fixed lines in service reached 3.093 million at the end of March, up from 2.711 million at end-March 2008. The latest total included 1.791 million limited mobility fixed-wireless CDMA lines, up from 1.367 million, accounting for 57.9% of the overall fixed market at end-March 2009, up from 50.5% a year earlier. The vast majority of the limited mobility lines are operated by Wana, which accounted for 58.07% of the overall fixed line market by the end of 1Q 2009, ahead of Maroc Telecom with 41.69% of all lines, and Medi Telecom (Meditel) with 0.24%.

In the residential segment, Wana's market share rises to 70.16%, but Maroc Telecom still dominates the lucrative business user market, with 96.57% of the country's 381,000 fixed lines registered to companies.

In Morocco's cellular market, the regulator calculated that there were 23.516 million mobile subscribers at the end of the first quarter, up from 20.616 million a year earlier, translating to a population penetration of over 75%. Maroc Telecom was reported to have 14.630 million, or 62.21% of these lines, ahead of Meditel with 35.57% (8.365 million subscriptions), and Wana with 521,000 users (2.22%) all served under its 3G mobile licence. Wana is preparing to join its two rivals in the 2G mobile arena under a recently awarded 1800MHz concession. 96% of all mobile customers take pre-paid services, according to the watchdog.

Morocco’s 3G wireless broadband subscriptions (mobile and fixed-wireless) nearly quadrupled in a year to reach 339,000 at the end of 1Q 2009, with Wana taking a 62.5% share (212,000 accounts) with its CDMA2000 1xEV-DO-based services, ahead of the W-CDMA/HSDPA-based competition from Maroc Telecom (19%) and Meditel (18.5%).

The country’s fixed broadband ADSL market remains almost completely dominated by Maroc Telecom, which served 98.95% of the nation's 489,000 subscribers (up by just 0.2% y-o-y) by the end of the trimester, with Wana and others sharing the small remaining number.

Telegeography

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