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Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

August 2020 | 91 pages | ID: L07313A5067EN
BuddeComm

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The Liberia - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses report includes all BuddeComm research data and analysis on this country. Covering trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, internet, broadband, infrastructure and regulation.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Liberia’s government to allow Libtelco to enter the mobile market

After more than a decade of civil war which destroyed much of its infrastructure, Liberia became a prime example of an almost entirely wireless telecommunications market. There are two mobile operators – MTN Liberia, majority owned by MTN Group, and Orange Liberia, the local unit of Orange Group. Both have steadily invested in network infrastructure while MTN Liberia has been active in promoting its m-money services in a country where most people are un-banked.

Competition between these operators has led to a reduction in pricing for voice and data services, and since this impacted on tax revenue the regulator was prompted in mid-2019 to impose a tariff floor.

Internet services are available from a number of wireless ISPs as well as the mobile operators. The high cost and limited bandwidth of connections means that internet access is expensive and penetration rates are very low. Although additional bandwidth is available from an international submarine cable, considerable investment is still needed in domestic fixed-line infrastructure before end-users can make full use of the cable.

The harmonisation of a disorderly mobile licensing and spectrum allocation regime has caused some difficulties, and market penetration remains low compared to other countries in the region. Penetration has also been affected by SIM card registration requirements imposed in recent years.

The privatisation of the long neglected incumbent telco Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (Libtelco) failed in 2005 though efforts to resuscitate the company have continued. As part of the efforts, the government has proposed amendments to the Telecommunications Act which would enable the telco to enter the mobile market, though its potential effectiveness as a competitor to MTN and Orange is doubtful.

The market is ineffectively monitored by the telecom regulator, which lacks the resources, technical expertise and documentation to enforce its orders. As a result, a number of operators are able to avoid paying fees to the government and have continued to operate despite the regulator’s rulings that they must close down their services.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments:
  • JamCell awarded Liberia’s third MNO licence;
  • Regulator tightens SIM card registration scheme, imposes price floor on mobile voice and data services;
  • Government preps to amend legislation to enable Libtelco to enter the mobile market;
  • MNOs again investigated for poor QoS;
  • Global Voice Group (GVG) delivers International Gateway Management System;
  • Regulator to receive portion of operator revenue under new payment regime;
  • Libtelco launches first phase of its fibre network in tie-up to the ACE cable system;
  • Report update includes telcos’ operating data to Q2 2020, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:

Liberia Telecommunications Corporation (LTC, Libtelco), MTN Liberia (LoneStar), Cellcom, Comium (Novafone), LiberCell, Globacom, West Africa Telecom (WAT).
1 KEY STATISTICS

2 REGIONAL AFRICA MARKET COMPARISON

2.1 TMI vs GDP
2.2 Mobile and mobile broadband
2.3 Fixed and mobile broadband

3 COUNTRY OVERVIEW

4 COVID-19 AND ITS IMPACT ON THE TELECOM SECTOR

4.1 Economic considerations and responses
4.2 Mobile devices
4.3 Subscribers
4.4 Infrastructure

5 TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET

5.1 Historical overview

6 REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

6.1 Overview
6.2 Regulatory authority
6.3 Fixed-line developments
6.4 Mobile network developments

7 MOBILE MARKET

7.1 Market analysis
7.2 Mobile infrastructure
7.3 Major mobile operators
7.4 Mobile content and applications

8 FIXED BROADBAND MARKET

8.1 Introduction and statistical overview

9 FIXED-LINE OPERATORS

9.1 Liberia Telecommunication Corporation (LTC, Libtelco)
9.2 West Africa Telecom (WAT)

10 TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE

10.1 Overview of the national telecom network
10.2 International infrastructure

11 APPENDIX HISTORIC DATA

12 GLOSSARY OF ABBREVIATIONS

13 RELATED REPORTS

LIST OF TABLES

Table 1 Top Level Country Statistics and Telco Authorities Liberia 2020 (e)
Table 2 Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration 2010 2025
Table 3 Growth in the number of active mobile broadband subscribers 2010 2025
Table 4 Change in the number of MTN Liberia subscribers, ARPU 2010 2020
Table 5 Growth in the number of MTN Liberia's mobile data subscribers 2016 2020
Table 6 Development of MTN Liberia's financial data (ZAR million) 2013 2020
Table 7 Change in MTN Liberia's mobile usage 2013 2020
Table 8 Change in the number of Orange Liberia's mobile subscribers 2012 - 2020
Table 9 Growth in the number of MTN Liberia's m-money subscribers 2018 2020
Table 10 Growth in the number of fixed broadband subscribers in Liberia 2010 2025
Table 11 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010 2025
Table 12 Fixed lines in service and teledensity 2010 2025
Table 13 Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Liberia 1999 2009
Table 14 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration 2001 2009
Table 15 Historic International internet bandwidth 2008 2016
Table 16 Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia 1999 2009
Table 17 Historic - MTN Liberia subscribers, ARPU 2005 2009
Table 18 Historic - SMS traffic 2008 2013
Table 19 Historic - Novafone mobile subscribers 2013 2016
Table 20 Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Liberia 2010 2015
Chart 1 Overall Africa view - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per Capita
Chart 2 West Africa - Telecoms Maturity Index vs GDP per capita
Chart 3 Africa Bottom-tier Telecoms Maturity Index (Market Emergents)
Chart 4 West Africa Telecoms Maturity Index by country
Chart 5 West Africa mobile subscriber penetration versus mobile broadband penetration
Chart 6 West Africa fixed and mobile penetration rates
Chart 7 Growth in the number of mobile subscribers and penetration 2010 2025
Chart 8 Growth in the number of active mobile subscribers and penetration 2013 2025
Chart 9 Change in the number of MTN Liberia subscribers, ARPU 2010 2020
Chart 10 Growth in the number of MTN Liberia's mobile data subscribers 2016 2020
Chart 11 Development of MTN Liberia's financial data (ZAR million) 2013 2020
Chart 12 Change in the number of Orange Liberia's mobile subscribers 2012 - 2020
Chart 13 Growth in the number of MTN Liberia's m-money subscribers 2018 2020
Exhibit 1 Generalised Market Characteristics by Market Segment
Exhibit 2 West Africa - Key Characteristics of Telecoms Markets by Country
Exhibit 3 Map of Liberia


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