Telecom market opportunities and challenges in Tunisia

Telecom Lead Middle East: Tunisia’s telecommunication sector contributes to 11 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


With three operators  — Orange Tunisia, Tunisiana and Tunisia Telecom — the mobile penetration rate stood at 115.3 per cent in 2011.

Recently introduced competition in the fixed-line segment and the launch of 3G services will continue to push the industry forward.

The Tunisian telecom market earned revenues of $2.03 billion in 2011 and estimates this to reach $2.82 billion in 2018.

The arrival of the new fixed and mobile service operator in 2010 dissolved the monopoly of the fixed-line incumbent. At the same time, it increased competition which is likely to drive growth in the telecom market.

The duopoly in the mobile segment of two operators ended in 2010, when the third mobile operator, Orange Tunisia, launched its services. Orange was the first operator in the country to launch 3G services in May 2010. However, four months later, Tunisie Telecom acquired the second 3G license for $80 million.

The fixed-line segment was controlled by Tunisia Telecom until 2010. In May 2010, newly established operator, Orange Tunisia, launched fixed, mobile and internet services. Greater competition and the dissolution of monopolies have boded well for the Tunisian telecom market.

However, recent political unrest and the current political instability in Tunisia have slowed down enterprise spending, internal Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) investments and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The telecommunication market was significantly affected by the unrest as the market’s revenue shank by 3.6 percent in 2011.

It is critical for Tunisia to resolve the political instability quickly to ensure healthy and much needed investments in the country.

To maintain market momentum, operators should focus on extending coverage to rural areas and introduce aggressive pricing to attract subscribers. Affordability for lower-income subscribers will remain a key factor to penetrate this mature market.

Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jonas Zelba
[email protected]