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Tunisia: Tunisia - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


Orange goes head on with mobile broadband in post-duopoly Tunisia

Tunisia has developed a diverse, market-oriented economy and saw only a mild drop of GDP growth in 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis, after which annual growth will return to pre-crisis levels of between 4% and 6%.

As a result of heavy investments in the telecom sector since the mid-1990s, Tunisia has one of the most developed telecommunications infrastructures in Northern Africa and sports some of the continent’s highest market penetration rates.

Offering a full range of services, Tunisie Telecom is the country’s fixed-line incumbent. The company was partly privatised in 2006 when a 35% stake was sold to Dubai-based Tecom and DIG. It also operates a mobile network under the name Tunicell.

The mobile sector has experienced exceptional growth since the introduction of a second GSM network in 2002, operated under the name Tunisiana by Egypt’s Orascom and Kuwait’s Wataniya.

Competition between eleven ISPs, supported by a nationwide fibre optic backbone network and international access via submarine and terrestrial fibre, has led to one of the most developed Internet markets in the region and some of the lowest broadband prices in Africa. The government is encouraging and promoting Internet use but at the same time is keeping tight control by restricting access to certain websites. Laws supporting e-commerce and digital signatures have been passed, which has led to one of the most active e-government and e-commerce sectors in Africa.

France Telecom-owned Orange entered the market as the second fixed-line and third mobile operator in May 2010 and launched Tunisia’s first commercial 3G mobile service. This is expected to deliver a further boost to the Internet and broadband market by taking broadband Internet access to a much wider part of the population, considering that the country’s mobile networks already reach close to 100% of the population while Tunisie Telecom’s fixed-line network reaches only about one-third of households. Orange’s 3G mobile broadband pricing is designed to compete head-on with Tunisie Telecom’s ADSL service which up to now has dominated the broadband market.

Tunisia’s International Internet bandwidth – 2001; 2006 - 2010

Year Bandwidth (Gb/s)
2001 0.07
2006 1.3
2007 3.1
2008 11.3
2009 27.5
2010 (May) 37.5
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