Algeria Reaches 25 Million Mobile Phone Subscribers

Telecoms

Algeria has 25 million mobile phone subscribers, compared with just 54,000 seven years ago, the Minister for Post and Telecommunication Services said Monday.

The penetration rate has now reached 75% of the population, according to a tally compiled at the end of September by industry-sector firms. In 2000, before the liberalization of the state monopoly in the telecommunications sector, the figure stood at 0.26%.

The blossoming of the industry is a result of fierce competition between the three operators in the country, which spent US$47 million promoting their products, according to the minister, Boudjemaa Hiachour.

Those three competing operators are Mobilis, subsidiary of the former state operator Algeria-Telecom; Djezzy, subsidiary of the Egyptian conglomerate Orascom; and Nedjma, subsidiary of the Kuwaiti firm Watanya.

Djezzy claims more than 12 million network subscribers, with Nedjma on around four million. Mobilis currently has 9.5 million users, its commercial and marketing director, Lounis Belharath, told AFP.

Meanwhile, according to Hiachour, Algeria now has around three million fixed-line telephone subscribers, compared with 1.6 million in 2000. By the end of September nearly 120,000 Algerians had high-speed Internet connections, with a total of four million being connected to the Web.

In a separate announcement reported by the local newspaper “La Tribune”, the Minister has said that the process leading to the opening of Algerie Telecom’s capital to private investors will definitely go ahead in 2008. The Spanish bank Santander has been chosen again to lead the project.

AFP