Fibre investment on the way in Algeria

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With a fixed-line penetration of around 8% and mobile penetration close to 100%, Algeria has one of the highest teledensities in Africa, according to Research & Markets. Its relatively well developed infrastructure includes a national fibre backbone and one of Africa’s first FttH deployments. The country’s oil and gas reserves have made it one of the wealthiest nations in Africa.

Competition in the fixed-line sector received a setback in 2008 when the second operator, Lacom (a joint venture between Egypt’s Orascom Telecom and Telecom Egypt) exited the market after three years of operations, citing regulatory barriers that made it impossible to compete with Algerie Telecom. Only months later, the already delayed privatisation of Algerie Telecom was called off and the licensing of third generation mobile spectrum delayed further. The number of fixed lines in service fell by 16% the following year but has since then recovered. 3G licences are now expected in 2012.

To provide fixed connections, Algerie Telecom has made extensive use of CDMA wireless technology which supports broadband and full mobility. In parallel with the access networks, the national and international fibre optic backbone is being upgraded to an IP-based next-generation network. The government has announced investments of €100 million into national fibre infrastructure over the five years to 2014.