07 Feb 2013 (97 Pages)
Includes 3 FREE Quarterly Updates.
BMI View: The North African telecoms markets are recovering from the political and social upheavals of 2011. The more mature Moroccan and Tunisian markets still offer the best opportunities in terms of risks and rewards with respect to investment, and nascent mobile value-added services markets are beginning to take off, with mobile money and gaming highlighted this quarter. Algeria is more of a risk as the government appears set on taking control of all three mobile operators while continuing to persecute foreign investors and equipment suppliers alike. Rebuilding efforts in Libya could see the two mobile operators targeted for privatisation or an outright sale to foreign investors, but the political and business environments remain challenging and prone to sudden collapse.
Key Trends & Developments:
The Algerian government appears to have resolved its dispute with the owners of mobile operator Djezzyand has agreed to establish a joint holding company with Russian co-owner Vimpel Communications(VimpelCom). However, it is unclear whether this deal has the approval of former shareholder, Naguib Sawiris, who launched a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit seeking damages from the state after years of alleged interference with Djezzy. Meanwhile, the government says it will launch 3G licences early in 2013.
Qatar Telecom has increased its direct and indirect ownership of Tunisian mobile operator Tunisiana from 75% to 90% and continues with its plans to take full control of Wataniya Telecom, with implications for the Algerian mobile market as the government seeks to use the opportunity to take control of Nedjma from Wataniya.
In Morocco, France's Vivendi Universal has reportedly received a bid for its 53% stake in incumbentMaroc Télécom, potentially worth EUR5.5bn. Other contenders - such as KT Corporation, Etisalat andFrance Télécom - could yet respond with a counterbid. The change in ownership could lead to a radical change in Maroc Télécom's business strategy and further changes in the Moroccan telecoms market.