WILL COMPETITION IN FIXED LINE REVERSE ITS DECLINE IN SUDAN?

Telecoms

The Sudanese fixed line market is in decline. The penetration level stood at a mere 1.6% by end of 2005. Meanwhile, the cellular market reflected a completely different growth pattern. Competition energized the market to increase the penetration level from 5.8% at year end 2005 to 9.1% by end of Q3 2006. With fixed services competition initiated in early 2006, the Arab Advisors Group expects the fixed line market to show signs of life driven by economic growth.

The Sudanese telecom market is increasingly becoming more competitive in both the fixed and cellular markets. The fixed services market in Sudan (including fixed voice, Internet and Datacomm services) had a new operator launch services in late January 2006. Canar, a consortium led by UAE’s Etisalat, launched its fixed services based on wireless technologies. On the cellular side, the market hosts three cellular service providers: Mobitel, MTN Sudan (previously Areeba Sudan), and Sudatel’s new cellular CDMA network. MTN ended the monopoly of Mobitel in July 2005 when it launched its services. Later the same year, Sudatel finalized its CDMA cellular network, commercially named “Sudani”, and started its operations limitedly in late 2005.

  “The fixed line market in Sudan is very small, in both absolute and relative terms. The market had 570,000 fixed line subscribers by end of 2005. With such a status, the Arab Advisors Group believes that the fixed services market has ample room for significant growth.”  Andrawes Snobar, Arab Advisors Senior Research Analyst wrote in the report. “The Sudanese cellular market has been growing at an impressive rate over the past few years. The Arab Advisors Group projects that the cellular market will continue to growing adding 1 million subscribers per year in the coming few years. This will be spurred by competition between the three operators (2 GSM and 1 CDMA) and the low cellular penetration in the country, which allows for a high growth potential for the three market players.” Snobar added.