3G broadband growth accelerates while ADSL stalls in Morocco
Moroccan regulator Agence Nationale de Reglementation de Telecom (ANRT) has released its statistical report for the second quarter of 2008. According to the watchdog’s figures, total mobile telephony subscribers increased by 3.86%, or 796,000 in the three months to the end of June to 21.412 million subscribers (up 22.39% from 17.495 million a year earlier, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database). Maroc Telecom accounted for almost exactly one-third of mobile subscribers with 14.211 million at the end of the second quarter (up by 514,000 since March), with Meditel accounting for the other 7.201 million (up 282,000 on the previous quarter). The ANRT said mobile penetration reached 69.43%, up from 57.82% in June 2007.
The mobile figures do not include the sector’s newest operator Wana, despite it launching commercial mobile services on 10 June. As of the end of June, domestically-owned Wana had not reported mobile user tallies to the ANRT, so all its CDMA-based subscribers remain classified as fixed line/limited mobility. In the fixed sector (which includes limited mobility), Wana took over from Maroc Telecom as the largest provider by customers in 2Q 2008, ending the period with a share of 51.65% (1.426 million subscribers out of a total of 2.761 million), ahead of Maroc Telecom’s 48.12% and a marginal share of 0.23% for Meditel. Overall fixed subscriber growth in the quarter was 1.89%, entirely attributed to Wana. The picture is likely to change significantly when the ANRT reports third quarter statistics, however, with a large portion of Wana’s subscriber base likely to have switched from limited mobility CDMA services to a fully mobile service with national roaming.
Total internet subscribers in Morocco reached 653,591 at mid-2008 against 581,866 three months earlier, an increase of 12.33%. ADSL broadband subscribers, virtually all of which are served by Maroc Telecom, accounted for 74.7% of the total, with a further 24.3% subscribing to 3G wireless broadband services and 1% on dial-up connections. The 3G wireless broadband sector saw 82% growth since the end of March, to take the total users to 158,869 at end-June. Wana comfortably claimed the majority with 117,531 subscribers to its CDMA2000 1xEV-DO-based service, ahead of its HSDPA-based rivals Meditel (27,563 subscriptions) and Maroc Telecom (13,774). Maroc Telecom previously reported that its ADSL subscriber total remained static in the three months ended 30 June, at 482,000.